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Application of skinned single muscle fibres to determine myofilament function in ageing and disease.

Degens, Hans and Larsson, Lars (2007) Application of skinned single muscle fibres to determine myofilament function in ageing and disease. Journal of musculoskeletal and neuronal interacteractions, 7 (1). pp. 56-61. ISSN 1108-7161

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Abstract

The chemically skinned fibre is a suitable preparation to determine whether alterations in myofilament function contribute to muscle dysfunction during ageing and disorders such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). In this preparation the sarcolemma is chemically permeabilized and the myofilament lattice kept intact, functioning under controlled near-physiological conditions. As force generating capacity is an important determinant of muscle function and is related to fibre crosssectional area (FCSA), we compared several methods employed by researchers to determine FCSA. Specific tension, force divided by FCSA, has a co-efficient of variation of 27%, 37%, or 30% when the FCSA was measured from the width and depth assuming an elliptical circumference, the width assuming a circular circumference, and the width while the fibre was suspended in the air, respectively. The last method showed the closest relation with the FCSA in histological sections. The velocity of maximal unloaded shortening (V(0)) varied with fibre type, with fibres expressing the Beta/slow (type I) myosin heavy chain (MyHC) isoform being the slowest and fibres expressing the IIb MyHC isoform the fastest. While muscle weakness experienced after surgery could not be explained by changes in specific tension or FCSA of individual fibres, the preparation revealed significant changes in myofilament function during ageing and COPD.

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