Honors Program


Document Type


Date of this Version

Winter 10-23-2020


Sullivan, Christina. Sex related differences in skeletal muscle subcutaneous adipose tissue, cross-sectional area, and grayscale. Undergraduate Honors Thesis. University of Nebraska-Lincoln. October 2020.


Copyright Christina Sullivan 2020.


Previous studies have demonstrated the efficacy of ultrasonography to assess subcutaneous adipose tissue, cross-sectional area (CSA), and grayscale for muscle. The purpose of the present study was to examine the sex-related differences in subcutaneous adipose tissue, as well as cross-sectional area and grayscale for the rectus femoris (RF) and vastus lateralis (VL). Five recreationally trained males (mean ± SD: age= 25.6 ± 1.9 years; height= 182.29 ± 5.88 cm; body mass= 84.67 ± 9.88 kg) and five recreationally trained females (mean ± SD: age= 21 ± .71 years; height= 162.71 ± 12.41 cm; body mass= 77.02 ± 14.91 kg) visited the laboratory on two separate occasions. B-mode and panoramic ultrasound images were captured for the left and right legs of each participant. Independent samples t-tests and mixed factorial analysis of variance (ANOVA) were used to analyze sex- and leg-related differences. The results demonstrated that females (0.64 ± 0.11 cm; 0.56 ± 0.06 cm) had a significantly greater amount of subcutaneous adipose tissue than males (1.28 ± 0.22 cm; 1.22 ± 0.16 cm). Additionally, males (27.48 ± 4.32 cm2; 28.19 ± 4.65 cm2) had a significantly greater cross-sectional area for the VL than females (22.37 ± 1.66 cm2; 22.85 ± 0.92 cm2). Cross-sectional area for the RF and grayscale for the RF and VL demonstrated no significant sex-related differences. Thus, the results of the present study using ultrasonography demonstrated sex-specific differences in subcutaneous adipose tissue and CSA for the RF and the VL.