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J Physiol. 2005 Jun 15;565(Pt 3):757-64. Epub 2005 May 12.

Extension and magnitude of denervation in skeletal muscle from ageing mice.

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Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Medical Center Boulevard, Winston-Salem, NC 27157, USA.


In this work we hypothesized that denervation in flexor digitorum brevis (FDB) muscle from ageing mice is more extensive than predicted by standard functional and structural assays used in the past. In addition, we asked whether denervation is a fully or partially developed process. Despite the reported alteration in skeletal muscle innervation, the quantification of the extension and magnitude of denervation in ageing rodents has remained elusive. To address these two questions we utilized a combination of electrophysiological and immunohistochemical assays directed to detecting the expression of tetrodotoxin (TTX)-resistant sodium channels (Na(v)1.5) in FDB muscles from young-adult and senescent mice. Sodium current density measured with the macropatch cell-attached technique did not show significant differences between FDB fibres from young and old mice. The TTX dose-response curve, using the whole cell voltage-clamp technique, showed three populations of fibres in senescent mice, one similar to fibres from young mice (TTX sensitive), another one similar to fibres from experimentally denervated muscle (TTX resistant), and a third group intermediate between these two. Partially and fully denervated fibres added up to approximately 50% of the total number of fibres tested, a number that concurs with the percentage of fibres positive for the Na(v)1.5 channel by specific immunostaining.

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