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Fibre type specific expression of Leu19-antigen and N-CAM in skeletal muscle in various stages after experimental denervation.

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Friedrich Baur Institut, Ludwig Maximilians Universität, Munich, Germany.


Leu-19 antigen, which seems to be identical with neural cell adhesion molecule (N-CAM), plays a major role in the innervation of muscle cells, and in adult muscle appears after denervation and during regeneration of muscle fibres, where it acts as part of a signalling system increasing the probability of re-innervation. This combined enzyme-histochemical and immunohistochemical study examined whether this signalling process was regulated in a uniform or differential pattern for type 1 and type 2 muscle fibres. The subscapular nerve of 18 rabbits was transsected with subsequent complete denervation of the supraspinatus muscle. Leu-19 and N-CAM immunohistochemistry was performed 2 to 64 days after surgery. Whereas in normal muscle there are virtually no Leu-19/N-CAM positive muscle fibres; from day 2 after denervation an increasing proportion of fibres expressed Leu-19/N-CAM, prior to any neurogenic atrophy. In the early stage of denervation Leu19/N-CAM expression was confined to type 1 fibres. After 11 days nearly all fibres were Leu19/N-CAM positive irrespective of their fibre type. Sixty-four days after denervation type 1 fibres became Leu19/N-CAM negative, while atrophic type 2 fibres showed intensive staining. Thus, expression of Leu-19 antigenicity is differently regulated in both fibre types.

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