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Tissue Cell. 1982;14(2):319-28.

Quantitative analyses of ultrastructure and vascularization of the slow muscle fibres of the anchovy.


A quantitative study has been made of the ultrastructure and vascularization of slow fibres in the lateral muscles of the European anchovy (Engraulis encrasicolus). Mitochondria and myofibrils occupy 45.5 and 44.3% of total fibre volume respectively. More than 95% of all myofibrils are adjacent to mitochondria. A total of 51% of the sarcolemma is in direct contact with capillaries with a mean of 12.9 capillaries per fibre. In transverse sections anchovy slow fibres are considerably flattened (long to short axis 12:1) such that the surface to volume ratio is more than twice that of a cylindrical fibre of the same area (1115 micron2). The capillary surface required to supply 1 micron3 of mitochondria is 0.18 micron2 and the maximum distance between any capillary and mitochondrion 8 microns. T-system and sarcoplasmic reticulum occupy 0.43 and 2.7% of fibre volume respectively. Adaptations for increasing the capacity of skeletal muscle for aerobic work are discussed.

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