, Volume 404, Issue 1, pp 1-9

Biochemical and ultrastructural changes of skeletal muscle mitochondria after chronic electrical stimulation in rabbits

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Abstract

The purpose of the present investigation was to follow and correlate changes of structural and biochemical markers of energy metabolism during chronic electrical stimulation of tibialis anterior muscle in rabbits.

In the superficial portion of the muscle, 5 to 6-fold increases occurred in enzyme activities of the citric acid cycle and of fatty acid oxidation after 28 days of stimulation. Enzyme activity changes in the deep, more oxidative part of the muscle were relatively smaller. Consequently, levels of the citric acid cycle enzymes became similar in superficial and deep parts of the muscle after the longest stimulation periods. With the exception of hexokinase, which increased in parallel with the citric acid cycle enzymes, glycolytic enzymes decreased 2 to 3-fold. Muscle mass and fibre size remained unchanged, while capillary density and capillary to fiber ratio increased 2-fold. The volume density of total mitochondria increased in a fashion similar to the changes of the enzymes of the citric acid cycle (7-fold in superficial and 3.5-fold in deep parts of the muscle) and, thus, approached values found in heart muscle. Disproportionate changes in enzyme activities of ketone body utilisation and of mitochondrial glycerolphosphate oxidase indicated qualitative changes within the mitochondrial population. However, the proportion of subsarcolemmal to interfibrillar mitochondria, as well as the area of inner mitochondrial membrane per unit volume of mitochondrion remained unchanged. Similarly, intracellular lipid deposits remained unchanged with stimulation.

It is concluded that there is an excellent agreement between morphometric and biochemical measurements of tissue oxidative capacity.