Recent analytical methods such as real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and Western blotting have now enabled us to analyze the gene and protein expression from small amounts of tissue. A fine needle muscle biopsy is thus expected to obtain a minimally sufficient amount of skeletal muscle to make a successful analysis. As a result, we used this fine needle muscle biopsy technique to obtain muscle tissue specimens from the vastus lateral muscle in 40 participants. The amount of tissue obtained by the fine needle was 5.2 +/- 3.2 mg (mean +/- standard deviation). The total RNA extracted was 3.0 +/- 1.4 pg and the total protein extracted was 2203 +/- 1541 mu g. Furthermore, the skeletal muscle tissue specimens obtained by the regular needle technique and blood sample were used as the control. Those specimens were used to measure the gene expression of beta-myosin heavy chain slow (beta-MHC slow) by real-time PCR and the protein expression of monocalboxylate transporter 1 (MCT-1) by Western blotting. beta-MHC slow gene expression was detected in both samples obtained by a fine and a regular needle biopsy, but not in a blood sample. Furthermore, the MCT-1 protein was detected in samples obtained by a fine needle muscle biopsy. These results indicated that the fine needle muscle biopsy is therefore a useful technique to obtain skeletal muscle specimens at least to analyze the gene and protein expression. (C) 2009 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.