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J Physiol. 1987 Jan;382:237-54.

Fibre sizes and histochemical staining characteristics in normal and chronically stimulated fast muscle of cat.


1. Normal and chronically stimulated peroneus longus muscles of the cat's hind limb were studied with respect to fibre size and staining properties for myofibrillar (myosin) adenosine triphosphatase (ATPase) and succinate dehydrogenase (SDH) activity. The intensity of staining for SDH activity was measured by microphotometry from the central portions of the muscle fibres ('core-SDH staining'). For comparison, histochemical properties were also studied in non-stimulated soleus muscles. 2. On account of the pH sensitivity of their myofibrillar ATPase, about 18% of the fibres in normal peroneus longus muscles were classified as type I, and about half of the remainder as II A and II B respectively. 3. In the normal peroneus longus muscles, the mean diameter of single muscle fibres generally varied between about 25 and 75 micron, whereby the average size of type I less than type II. 4. In the normal peroneus longus muscles the staining intensity for core SDH varied over a wide range. The average heaviness of staining was clearly ranked in the order type I greater than type II A greater than type II B. 5. Chronic stimulation was given to the deafferented common peroneal nerve by aid of a portable and remotely controlled mini-stimulator. The stimulation was delivered in 'tonic' patterns (greater than or equal to 50% of total time taken up by activity) of 'fast' (20 or 40 Hz) or 'slow' (5 or 10 Hz) rates. 6. Prior to the period of long-term stimulation, the cats had been subjected to a dorsal rhizotomy and hemispinalization on the ipsilateral (left) side. In the absence of chronic stimulation, these operations had no evident effects on the sizes or staining properties of peroneus longus fibres. 7. After 8 weeks of treatment with tonic patterns of stimulation, the fibres of peroneus longus muscles clearly became more similar to each other with respect to their diameter as well as their staining for ATPase and SDH activity. With respect to ATPase staining, however, the chronically stimulated peroneus longus fibres had become more similar to non-stimulated soleus fibres than to non-stimulated type I fibres of peroneus longus. With respect to the staining for core SDH, the chronically stimulated fibres all became similar to normal II A fibres of peroneus longus. The 'fast' and 'slow' patterns of chronic stimulation had the same effects on the staining properties. 8. Chronically stimulated peroneus longus muscles showed a decrease in fibre diameter which corresponded, roughly, to the concomitant decrease in muscle weight.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS).

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