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Arch Oral Biol. 2013 Apr;58(4):435-43. doi: 10.1016/j.archoralbio.2012.09.008. Epub 2012 Oct 25.

Regional variation in IIM myosin heavy chain expression in the temporalis muscle of female and male baboons (Papio anubis).

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Department of Evolutionary Anthropology, Duke University, Durham, NC 27708, United States.



The purpose of this study was to determine whether high amounts of fast/type II myosin heavy chain (MyHC) in the superficial as compared to the deep temporalis muscle of adult female and male baboons (Papio anubis) correlates with published data on muscle function during chewing. Electromyographic (EMG) data show a regional specialization in activation from low to high amplitude activity during hard/tough object chewing cycles in the baboon superficial temporalis.(48,49) A positive correlation between fast/type II MyHC amount and EMG activity will support the high occlusal force hypothesis.


Deep anterior temporalis (DAT), superficial anterior temporalis (SAT), and superficial posterior temporalis (SPT) muscle samples were analyzed using SDS-PAGE gel electrophoresis to test the prediction that SAT and SPT will show high amounts of fast/type II MyHC compared to DAT. Serial muscle sections were incubated against NOQ7.5.4D and MY32 antibodies to determine the breadth of slow/type I versus fast/type II expression within each section.


Type I and type IIM MyHCs comprise nearly 100% of the MyHCs in the temporalis muscle. IIM MyHC was the overwhelmingly predominant fast MyHC, though there was a small amount of type IIA MyHC (≤5%) in DAT in two individuals. SAT and SPT exhibited a fast/type II phenotype and contained large amounts of IIM MyHC whereas DAT exhibited a type I/type II (hybrid) phenotype and contained a significantly greater proportion of MyHC-I. MyHC-I expression in DAT was sexually dimorphic as it was more abundant in females.


The link between the distribution of IIM MyHC and high relative EMG amplitudes in SAT and SPT during hard/tough object chewing cycles is evidence of regional specialization in fibre type to generate high occlusal forces during chewing. The high proportion of MyHC-I in DAT of females may be related to a high frequency of individual fibre recruitment in comparison to males.

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