Macrophages play an important role in aging-related muscle atrophy (i.e., sarcopenia). We examined macrophage density in six striated muscles (cricopharyngeus muscle, posterior cricoarytenoideus muscle, genioglossus muscle, masseter muscle, infraspinatus muscle, and external anal sphincter). We examined 14 donated male cadavers and utilized CD68 immunohistochemistry to clarify macrophage density in muscles. The numbers of macrophages per striated muscle fiber in the larynx and pharynx (0.34 and 0.31) were 5-6 times greater than those in the tongue, shoulder, and anus (0.05-0.07) with high statistical significance. Thick muscle fibers over 80 m in diameter were seen in the pharynx, larynx, and anal sphincter of two limited specimens. Conversely, in the other sites or specimens, muscle fibers were thinner than 50 m. We did not find any multinuclear muscle cells suggestive of regeneration. At the beginning of the study, we suspected that mucosal macrophages might have invaded into the muscle layer of the larynx and pharynx, but we found no evidence of inflammation in the mucosa. Likewise, the internal anal sphincter (a smooth muscle layer near the mucosa) usually contained fewer macrophages than the external sphincter. The present result suggest that, in elderly men, thinning and death of striated muscle fibers occur more frequently in the larynx and pharynx than in other parts of the body.
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