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Fed Proc. 1986 Dec;45(13):2910-4.

Metabolic properties of muscle fibers.


Mammalian skeletal muscles are composed of slow (type I) and fast (type II) twitch fibers, which, as reflected by their enzyme activity patterns, are characterized by specific metabolic properties. Type I fibers are always "oxidative" but nevertheless form a spectrum. Type II fibers likewise form a spectrum but display a wider range with "oxidative" and "glycolytic" extremes. As a result, type I and type II fibers can be classified independently of myofibrillar ATPase histochemistry by their specific enzyme activity profiles. In this context, activity ratios between enzymes of anaerobic and aerobic pathways can be used as discriminative parameters. Similarly, specific ratios of enzymes catalyzing unidirectional reactions in hexose metabolism (hexokinase, phosphofructokinase, fructose-1,6-bisphosphatase) separate the two fiber populations. The histochemically defined IIA and IIB subtypes cannot be separated into distinct metabolic groups. In view of the continuum of metabolic properties, skeletal muscle is an extremely heterogeneous tissue in which each fiber represents a separate metabolic compartment.

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