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Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1994 Aug;26(8):973-7.

Muscle fiber splitting in stretch-enlarged avian muscle.

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University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Department of Cell Biology and Neuroscience, Dallas 75235-9039.


This study examined the role of longitudinal fiber splitting in enlarged anterior latissimus dorsi (ALD) muscle of adult quail. Muscle hypertrophy was induced using a model of progressive stretch overload (PSO) (5). After 16 and 28 d of PSO, muscle mass in the stretched ALD muscle increased significantly (P < 0.05) 188% and 294%, respectively, when compared with the intra-animal control muscle. Muscle length increased significantly (P < 0.05) in the stretched ALD muscle vs the intra-animal control by approximately 77% for both groups. Fiber number, which was assessed using direct counts after nitric acid digestion, did not change in the 16-d group; however, the 28-d stretched ALD muscle exhibited a 30% increase (P < 0.05) in fiber number vs the intra-animal control muscle. Furthermore, the frequency of splitting (i.e., branching) fibers was less than 0.3% in all muscles examined except the 28-d stretched ALD muscle. The 28-d stretched ALD muscle had 5.25% of its muscle fibers exhibiting split profiles. These results demonstrate that PSO produces effects unlike chronic stretch overload in that longitudinal fiber splitting may contribute significantly to an increase in fiber number.

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