Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Biology



First Reader/Committee Chair

Horner, Angela


Aging in skeletal muscle is characterized by a loss in muscular performance. This is in part related to the direct loss of muscle mass due to senescence, known as sarcopenia. With age, skeletal muscles lose force production, contractile speed, and power production. The force velocity relationship of muscle is a product of force production and contraction speed, both of which decline with age; however, the mechanisms and trajectory of this decline are not well understood. Exercise has positive effects on muscle, and thus may assist in maintaining performance in old age. However, few long-term studies have been performed to examine the effects of life-long exercise on muscle contractile performance. In order to test the potential for life-long exercise to reduce the effects of again on muscle contractile performance, muscle performance was determined in control mice and mice selected for high voluntary wheel running at baseline, adult, and old ages. Peak isometric force declined with age in control (C) mice without exercise (P