Collagen of slow twitch and fast twitch muscle fibres in different types of rat skeletal muscle

  • V. Kovanen
  • H. Suominen
  • E. Heikkinen
Original Articles


The appearance of collagen around individual fast twitch (FT) and slow twitch (ST) muscle fibres was investigated in skeletal muscles with different contractile properties using endurance trained and untrained rats as experimental animals. The collagenous connective tissue was analyzed by measuring hydroxyproline biochemically and by staining collagenous material histochemically in M. soleus (MS), M. rectus femoris (MRF), and M. gastrocnemius (MG). The concentration of hydroxyproline in the ST fibres dissected from MS (2.72±0.35 Μg·mg−1 d.w.) was significantly higher than that of the FT fibres dissected from MRF (1.52±0.33 Μg·mg−1 d.w.). Similarly, the concentration of hydroxyproline was higher in ST (2.54±0.51 ⧎g·mg−1 d.w.) than in FT fibres (1.60±0.43 Μg·mg−1 d.w.), when the fibres were dissected from the same muscle, MG. Histochemical staining of collagenous material agreed with the biochemical evidence that MS and the slow twitch area of MG are more collagenous than MRF and the fast twitch area of MG both at the level of perimysium and endomysium. The variables were not affected by endurance training. When discussing the role of collagen in the function of skeletal muscle it is suggested that the different functional demands of different skeletal muscles are also reflected in the structure of intramuscular connective tissue, even at the level of endomysial collagen. It is supposed that the known differences in the elastic properties of fast tetanic muscle compared to slow tonic muscle as, e.g., the higher compliance of fast muscle could at least partly be explained in terms of the amount, type, and structure of intramuscular collagen.

Key words

Collagen Fast and slow twitch fibres Skeletal muscle Rat Endurance training 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • V. Kovanen
    • 1
  • H. Suominen
    • 1
  • E. Heikkinen
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Health SciencesUniversity of JyvÄskylÄJyvÄskylÄ 10Finnland

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