Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Summary The composition of adult rat soleus muscle spindles, with respect to myosin heavy chain isoforms and M-band proteins, was studied by light-microscope immunohistochemistry. Serial sections were labelled with antibodies against slow tonic, slow twitch, fast twitch and neonatal myosin isoforms as well as against myomesin, M-protein and the MM form of creatine kinase. Intrafusal fiber types were distinguished according to the pattern of ATPase activity following acid and alkaline preincubations. Nuclear bag1 fibers were always strongly stained throughout with anti-slow tonic myosin, were positive for anti-slow twitch myosin towards and in the C-region but were unstained with anti-fast twitch and anti-neonatal myosins. The staining of nuclear bag2 fibers was in general highly variable. However, they were most often strongly stained by anti-slow tonic myosin in the A-region and gradually lost this reactivity towards the poles, whereas a positive reaction with anti-slow twitch myosins was found along the whole fiber. Regional staining variability with antineonatal and anti-fast myosins was apparent, often with decreasing intensity towards the polar regions. Nuclear chain fibers showed strong transient reactivity with anti-slow tonic myosin in the equatorial region, did not react with anti-slow twitch and were always evenly stained by anti-fast twitch and anti-neonatal myosins. All three intrafusal fiber types were stained with anti-myomesin. Nuclear bag1 fibers lacked staining for M-protein, whereas bag2 fibers displayed intermediate staining, with regional variability, often increasing in reactivity towards the polar regions. Chain fibers were always strongly stained by anti-M-protein. The MM form of creatine kinase was present in all three fiber types, but bag1 fibers were less reactive and clear striations were not observed, in contrast to bag2 and chain fibers. Out of 38 cross sectioned spindles two were found to have an atypical fiber composition, (lack of chain fibers) and a rather diverse staining pattern for the different antibodies tested. Taken together, the data show that in adult rat solcus, slow tonic and neonatal myosin heavy, chain isoforms are only expressed in the muscle spindle fibers and that each intrafusal fiber type has a unique, although variable, composition of myosin heavy chain isoforms and M-band proteins. We propose that both motor and sensory innervation might be the determining factors regulating the variable expression of myosin heavy chain isoforms and M-band proteins in intrafusal fibers of rat muscle spindles.
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