Pflügers Archiv

, Volume 423, Issue 3–4, pp 255–264 | Cite as

Adaptation of rat extensor digitorum longus muscle to gamma irradiation and overload

  • J. David Rosenblatt
  • David J. Parry
Heart, Circulation, Respiration and Blood; Environmental and Exercise Physiology


The right extensor digitorum longus (EDL) muscle of growing male rats was overloaded by ablation of its synergist tibialis anterior (TA) muscle. Four weeks later, the overloaded muscle was heavier and contained larger type IIA, IIX and IIB fibres than either untreated contralateral muscle or control muscle from an untreated animal. The myonuclear-to-myoplasmic volume ratio was maintained in the overloaded muscle. Overloaded EDL muscle, previously subjected to a dose of irradiation sufficient to sterilise satellite cells, and EDL muscle which had been only irradiated, were significantly lighter and contained significantly smaller fibres than controls, though a significant amount of normal EDL muscle growth did occur following either treatment. The myonuclear-to-myoplasmic volume ratio of the irradiated muscles was smaller than in controls. Overloaded muscle, with or without prior irradiation, possessed a smaller proportion of fibres containing IIB myosin heavy chain (MHC) and a larger proportion of fibres containing IIA and IIX MHC; a significant percentage of these fibres coexpressed either type IIA and IIX MHC or type IIX and IIB MHC. Thus in the absence of satellite cell mitosis, muscles of young rats possess a limited capacity for normal growth but not for compensatory hypertrophy. Adaptations in MHC gene expression to chronic overload are completely independent of satellite cell activity.

Key words

Adaptation Hypertrophy Irradiation Myosin heavy chain Satellite cells Skeletal muscle 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. David Rosenblatt
    • 1
  • David J. Parry
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Physiology, Faculty of MedicineUniversity of OttawaOttawaCanada

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