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J Anat. 1997 May;190 ( Pt 4):613-22.

Changes in muscle fibre type, muscle mass and IGF-I gene expression in rabbit skeletal muscle subjected to stretch.

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Department of Anatomy and Developmental Biology, Royal Free Hospital School of Medicine, London, UK.


The relationship between IGF-1 and changes in muscle fibre phenotype in response to 6 d of stretch or disuse of the lower limb muscles of the rabbit was studied by combining in situ hybridisation and immunohistochemistry procedures. Passive stretch by plaster cast immobilisation of the muscle in its lengthened position not only induced an increase in IGF-I mRNA expression within the individual muscle fibres but also an increase in the percentage of fibres expressing neonatal and slow myosin. This change in phenotype was also found to be accompanied by a rapid and marked increase of muscle mass, total RNA content as well as IGF-I gene expression. In contrast, IGF-I appears not to be involved in muscle atrophy induced by immobilisation in the shortened position and the inactivity which results from this procedure. The level of increase in expression of IGF-I mRNA varied from fibre to fibre. By using adjacent serial sections, the fibres which expressed IGF-I mRNA at the highest levels were identified as expressing neonatal and the slow type 1 myosin. These data suggest that the expression of IGF-I within individual muscle fibres is correlated not only with hypertrophy but also with the muscle phenotypic adaptation that results from stretch and overload.

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