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Int Rev Cytol. 2002;216:175-232.

Molecular and cellular mechanisms involved in the generation of fiber diversity during myogenesis.

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School of Biomedical Sciences, Queen's Medical Centre, Nottingham, United Kingdom.


Skeletal muscles have a characteristic proportion and distribution of fiber types, a pattern which is set up early in development. It is becoming clear that different mechanisms produce this pattern during early and late stages of myogenesis. In addition, there are significant differences between the formation of muscles in head and those found in rest of the body. Early fiber type differentiation is dependent upon an interplay between patterning systems which include the Wnt and Hox gene families and different myoblast populations. During later stages, innervation, hormones, and functional demand increasingly act to determine fiber type, but individual muscles still retain an intrinsic commitment to form particular fiber types. Head muscle is the only muscle not derived from the somites and follows a different development pathway which leads to the formation of particular fiber types not found elsewhere. This review discusses the formation of fiber types in both head and other muscles using results from both chick and mammalian systems.

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