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Comp Biochem Physiol B. 1988;91(2):273-7.

Changes in myoglobin and lactate dehydrogenase in muscle tissues of a diving bird, the Pigeon Guillemot, during maturation.

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Department of Biology, University of Oregon, Eugene 97403.


1. The concentration of myoglobin (Mb) and the isozymic distribution and activity of lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) in heart and pectoralis muscle were investigated at three stages of maturation of the Pigeon Guillemot, Cepphus columba. 2. Mb is not detectable in chick pectoralis; it is present in fledgling pectoralis muscle and increases four-fold in adult pectoralis. Mb concentration in heart muscle is similar in chick and fledgling and doubles in the adult. 3. LDH activities in pectoralis muscle of fledgling and adult increase to about three times that of the chick. LDH activities in heart of chick, fledgling and adult are similar to one another. 4. All five isozymes of LDH are present in both heart and pectoralis muscle at all stages; the heart muscle shows predominantly LDH-1 isozyme, and the pectoralis, LDH-5. The relative amounts of the five isozymes in the heart extract were constant during maturation but pectoralis LDH isozymes changed during maturation towards a more even distribution of the five isozymes in the adult. 5. Changes in Mb and LDH in the Pigeon Guillemot correlate with the animal's maturation from a sedentary nest sitter to an active diver and flyer. The adult pectoralis muscle probably has both aerobic function for wing-propelled short dives and flying and anaerobic capacity for longer dives.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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