Cell and Tissue Research

, Volume 251, Issue 2, pp 281–289 | Cite as

Structural diversity in muscle fibres of chicken breast

  • Anne-Christine Edman
  • Jan Lexell
  • Michael Sjöström
  • John M. Squire


Chicken breast muscle is usually considered to be a relatively homogeneous white muscle and has therefore been widely used for studies of muscle proteins. In a previous study, however, we have found different M-region structures in different fibres from this muscle. Because of this result, we have now carried out a combined histochemical and ultrastructural survey of this muscle. In particular, we have made use of large transverse cryo-sections that include most of the muscle cross-section.

Although the white region is fairly homogeneous in fibre content according to normal histochemical criteria (mAT-Pase), we have found that there is a gradation of fibre structure across the muscle. The bulk of the muscle stains conventionally for Type-II fibres according to mATPase tests (the “white” part) but, in the small “red” part of the muscle, there are also Type-I fibres together with the Type-II fibres. Superimposed on this division into Type-I and Type-II fibres are variations in fibre size, oxidative and glycolytic staining properties, and variations of Z-band width and M-band structure; there is no strict correlation among any of these parameters. The apparently uniform staining across most of the muscle when tested for myofibrillar ATPase may be a misleading indicator of fibre properties.

Key words

Striated skeletal muscle Fibre types Muscle cells Myofibril Chicken 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anne-Christine Edman
    • 1
  • Jan Lexell
    • 1
  • Michael Sjöström
    • 1
  • John M. Squire
    • 2
  1. 1.Departments of Anatomy and NeurologyUniversity of UmeåUmeåSweden
  2. 2.Biophysics Section, Blackett LaboratoryImperial CollegeLondonUK

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