Cell and Tissue Research

, Volume 248, Issue 1, pp 169–180 | Cite as

Diversification of the myofibrillar M-band in rat skeletal muscle during postnatal development

  • Eva Carlsson
  • Lars -Eric Thornell


The fine structure of the M-band in soleus (SOL) and extensor digitorum longus (EDL) muscles in newborn and four-week-old rats was studied using electron-microscopic techniques. In newborn rats, all myotubes and fibres in both muscles had an identical myofibrillar appearance. A five-line M-band pattern was seen in longitudinal sections and distinct M-bridges in cross-sections. The Z-discs were of medium width. On the other hand, in four-week-old rats, different muscle fibre types were observed on the basis of their myofibrillar pattern. In SOL two fibre types were distinguished in longitudinal sections. One had a four-line M-band pattern and very broad Z-discs, whereas the other type had five lines in the M-band and broad Z-discs. In EDL, three different myofibrillar patterns were observed. The M-bands were composed of three, four or five lines. Fibres had either thin, broad or medium Z-disc widths, respectively. In cross-sections of the SOL muscle one group of fibres showed indistinct M-bridges, whereas distinct M-bridges were seen in the other fibres and in all observed EDL muscle fibres. We conclude that initially there seems to be a single intrinsic program for M-band genesis; this program becomes modified upon the induction of functionally differentiated fibres.

Key words

M-band structure Fibre type Skeletal muscle Cryo ultramicrotomy Electron microscopy Rat 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eva Carlsson
    • 1
  • Lars -Eric Thornell
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of AnatomyUniversity of UmeåUmeåSweden

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