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Cell Tissue Res. 1986;244(3):635-43.

Degeneration-regeneration as a mechanism contributing to the fast to slow conversion of chronically stimulated fast-twitch rabbit muscle.


Extensor digitorum longus muscles of male adult White New Zealand rabbits were indirectly stimulated at 10 Hz for 12 h daily for periods ranging up to 28 days. After four weeks the stimulated muscles showed a nearly uniform profile of high succinate dehydrogenase activity and, when incubated after acid preincubation for myofibrillar adenosine triphosphatase, displayed more dark- and intermediate-staining fibers than their contralateral counterparts. Muscles stimulated from between 6 to 21 days revealed degenerative foci and phagocytosis of degenerated fibers. These fibers were mostly of the fast-twitch, glycolytic type. Small myofibers, which often contained central nuclei, and structures identified as myoblasts or myotubes, reacted with a monoclonal antibody prepared against embryonic myosin heavy chains. The data suggest that under the employed conditions the fast to slow conversion of chronically stimulated fast-twitch rabbit muscle is not exclusively caused by adult fiber transformation, but results in part from the substitution of fast-twitch glycolytic fibers with newly formed fibers that have a high oxidative profile.

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