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Muscle Nerve. 1998 Jul;21(7):921-31.

Activity of phasic motor neurons partially transforms the neuronal and muscle phenotype to a tonic-like state.

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Section of Organismal and Integrative Biology, Thomas Hunt Morgan School of Biological Sciences, Lexington, Kentucky, USA.


We present a model preparation, the crayfish, to investigate chronic stimulation effects in muscle fiber type and neuronal conversion from fast to slow. The results show a presynaptic alteration in transmitter release after 1 week of stimulation at 5 Hz for a 2-h daily regime. With the same stimulation paradigm, the muscle proteins displayed on a polyacrylamide gel only start to show changes after 3 weeks. The original phasic motoneurons within 1 week display an enhanced ability to resist synaptic depression, as do tonic motoneurons. The results show that identified phasic motoneurons and muscle fibers in the crayfish can be transformed to a toniclike state, and that the nerve terminals convert prior to the muscle fibers. Electrophysiological clinical measures indicating a change in transmitter release properties may not necessarily mean that the muscle fibers have fully adapted for long-lasting effects. This preparation allows stimulation conditions to be examined with ease.

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