Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Development. 1989 Dec;107(4):771-84.

Myonuclear birthdates distinguish the origins of primary and secondary myotubes in embryonic mammalian skeletal muscles.

Author information

Neuroscience Centre, University of Otago Medical School, Dunedin, New Zealand.


Myotubes were isolated from enzymically disaggregated embryonic muscles and examined with light microscopy. Primary myotubes were seen as classic myotubes with chains of central nuclei within a tube of myofilaments, whereas secondary myotubes had a smaller diameter and more widely spaced nuclei. Primary myotubes could also be distinguished from secondary myotubes by their specific reaction with two monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) against adult slow myosin heavy chain (MHC). Myonuclei were birth dated with [3H]thymidine autoradiography or with 2-bromo-5'-deoxyuridine (BrdU) detected with a commercial monoclonal antibody. After a single pulse of label during the 1-2 day period when primary myotubes were forming, some primary myotubes had many myonuclei labelled, usually in adjacent groups, while in others no nuclei were labelled. If a pulse of label was administered after this time labelled myonuclei appeared in most secondary myotubes, while primary myotubes received few new nuclei. Labelled and unlabelled myonuclei were not grouped in the secondary myotubes, but were randomly interspersed. We conclude that primary myotubes form by a nearly synchronous fusion of myoblasts with similar birthdates. In contrast, secondary myotubes form in a progressive fashion, myoblasts with asynchronous birthdates fusing laterally with secondary myotubes at random positions along their length. These later-differentiating myoblasts do not fuse with primary myotubes, despite being closely apposed to their surface. Furthermore, they do not generally fuse with each other, as secondary myotube formation is initiated only in the region of the primary myotube endplate.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire
    Loading ...
    Support Center