The three-dimensional structure of the mitochondria and sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR) in the three types of twitch fibers, i.e., the red, white and intermediate skeletal muscle fibers, of the vastus lateralis muscle of the Japanese meadow frog (Rana nigromaculata nigromaculata Hallowell) was examined by high resolution scanning electron microscopy, after removal of the cytoplasmic matrices.
The small red fibers have numerous mitochondrial columns of large diameter, while the large white fibers have a small number of mitochondrial columns of small diameter. In the medium-size intermediate fibers, the number and diameter of the mitochondrial columns are intermediate between those of the red and white fibers.
In all three types of fibers, the terminal cisternae and transverse tubules form triads at the level of each Z-line. The thick terminal cisternae continue into much thinner flat intermediate cisternae, through a transitional part where a row of tiny indentations can be observed. Numerous slender longitudinal tubules originating from the intermediate cisternae, extend longitudinally or obliquely and form elongated oval networks of various sizes in front of the A-band, then fuse to form the H-band collar (fenestrated collar) around the myofibrils. On the surface of the H-band collar, small fenestrations as well as tiny hollows are seen. The three-dimensional structure of SR is basically the same in all three muscle fiber-types. However, the SR is sparse on the surface of mitochondria, so the mitochondria-rich red fiber has a smaller total volume of SR than the mitochondria-poor white fiber. The volume of SR of the intermediate fiber is intermediate between other the two.
Muscle cellsMitochondriaSarcoplasmic reticulumScanning electron microscopyFrog (Rana n. nigromaculata)