Muscle, striated, skeletal
Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Summary The postnatal development, between 0 and 90 days, of three hindlimb muscles and diaphragm of the rat was investigated with respect to fiber types and diameter (histochemistry) and substrate oxidation rates and enzyme activities (biochemistry). The process of muscle fiber differentiation into mature patterns was evaluated by visual classification into 3 or 4 groups having different staining intensities for 3 enzyme-histochemical reactions, enabling 26 fiber types to be distinguished. These exhibited specific sizes and growth rates that varied among the muscles. One of the hindleg muscles (flexor digitorum brevis) remained much more immature than soleus and extensor digitorum longus. The histochemical and biochemical findings correlated well. The capacity for pyruvate and palmitate oxidation, and the activities of cytochrome c oxidase and citrate synthase, increased markedly between 9 and 37 days in soleus and extensor digitorum longus (except citrate synthase in the latter) but not in flexor digitorum brevis. Creatine kinase activity increased in all hindlimb muscles. Both the capacity and the activity of pyruvate oxidation (determined in homogenates and intact isolated muscles, respectively), were in accordance with the fiber type composition. In contrast to oxidation capacity, the activity of pyruvate oxidation decreased after birth until the mature stage, when a value of 18–42% of that of early postnatal muscles was recorded.
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