Pflügers Archiv

, Volume 407, Issue 2, pp 166–169 | Cite as

Histochemical and contractile properties of soleus muscle trained during development

  • G. C. B. Elder
  • F. Vassallo
Heart, Circulation, Respiration and Blood; Environmental and Exercise Physiology


The effects of endurance training on the histochemical and contractile properties of developing rat soleus was studied. Five 18 day old Long Evans rats were trained twice a day for 28 days (E group); workloads were increased to 30 m/min (15% grade) for 40 min/bout. Contraction time (Tc), twitch tension (Pt), half relaxation time (t1/2R), tetanic tension (Po), maximal rate of rise in tension (t50%Po) and fatigue index (FI, % decline in force after 15 s tetanic stimulation) were measured and compared to a control (C) group. The contralateral soleus was excised, rapidly forzen and histochemical (myosin ATPase pH 9.4 and 4.3) and histological sections prepared for analysis of fibre type, number and area.

Similar fibre types (X=70 and 71% ST), fibre numbers (X=2115 and 2242) and areas of ST (X=2000 and 2320 μm2) and FT fibres (X=1476 and 1628 μm2) were found in C and E groups respectively.Po (p<0.05) was greater andt50%Po (p<0.01) was significantly faster in E. Pathological changes were found in about 1% of fibres in each trained muscle, but not in controls. Histochemical differentiation of fibre types was unaffected and contractile properties only minimally by training during early development.

Key words

Fibre types Contractile properties Endurance training Development 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Baldwin KM, Roy RR, Sacks RD, Blanco C, Edgerton VR (1984) Relative independence of metabolic enzymes and neuromuscular activity. J Appl Physiol: Respir Environ Exercise Physiol 56(6):1602–1607Google Scholar
  2. Bárány M (1967) ATPase activity of myosin correlated with speed of muscle shortening. J Gen Physiol 50:197–218Google Scholar
  3. Belcastro AN, Wenger H (1982) Myofibril and sarcoplasmic reticulum changes with exercise and growth. Eur J Appl Physiol 49:87–95Google Scholar
  4. Brody IA (1975) Regulation of isometric contraction in skeletal muscle. Exptl Neurol 50:673–683Google Scholar
  5. Brooke MH, Kaiser K (1970) Three myosin adenosine triphosphatase systems. The nature of their pH lability and sulphahydral dependence. J Histochem Cytochem 18:670–672Google Scholar
  6. Buller AJ, Eccles JC, Eccles RM (1960) Interactions between motoneurones and muscles in respect of the characteristic speeds of their responses. J Physiol 150:417–439Google Scholar
  7. Close R (1964) Dynamic properties of fast and slow skeletal muscles of the rat during development. J Physiol 173:74–95Google Scholar
  8. Edgerton VR (1970) Morphology and histochemistry of the soleus muscle from normal and exercised rats. Am J Anat 127: 81–88Google Scholar
  9. Elder GCB (1983) Effects of short and long term inactivity on contractile properties of developing rat skeletal muscle. Med Sci Sports Exerc (Abstr) 15:136Google Scholar
  10. Elder GCB, McComas AJ (1982) Fast contractile properties induced by inactivity in developing rat soleus muscles. Fed Proc (Abstr) 41:1595Google Scholar
  11. Engel WK, Cunningham GC (1963) Rapid examination of muscle tissue. Neurology 13:919–923Google Scholar
  12. Fell RD, Gladden LB, Steffen JM, Musacchia XJ (1985) Fatigue and contraction of slow and fast muscles in hypokinetic/ hypodynamic rats. J Appl Physiol 58(1):65–69Google Scholar
  13. Fitts RH, Holloszy JO (1977) Contractile properties of rat soleus muscle: effects of training and fatigue. Am J Physiol: Cell Physiol 233(3):C86-C91Google Scholar
  14. Gonyea W (1980) Role of exercise in inducing increases in skeletal muscle fibre number. J Appl Physiol 48:421–426Google Scholar
  15. Green HJ, Reichmann H, Pette D (1983) Fibre type specific transformations in the enzyme activity pattern of rat vastus lateralis muscle by prolonged endurance training. Pflügers Arch 399:216–222Google Scholar
  16. Green HJ, Klug GA, Reichmann H, Seedorf U, Wiehrer W, Pette D (1984) Exercise-induced fibre type transitions with regard to myosin, parvalbumin, and sarcoplasmic reticulum in muscles of the rat. Pflügers Arch 400:432–438Google Scholar
  17. Karpati G, Engel GW (1968) Correlative histochemical study of skeletal muscle after suprasegmental denervation, peripheral nerve section and skeletal fixation. Neurol (Minneap) 18: 681–682Google Scholar
  18. Kugelberg E (1976) Adaptive transformation of rat soleus motor units during growth. J Neurol Sci 27:269–289Google Scholar
  19. MacIntosh AM, Baldwin KM (1983) Effects of repetitive exercise on neonatal rat skeletal muscle oxidative capacity. J Appl Physiol: Respir Environ Physiol 54:530–535Google Scholar
  20. Nachlas M, Tsou MK, DeSouza E, Cheng C, Seliqman AM (1957) Cytochemical demonstration of SDH by the use of a new pnitrophenyl substituted ditetrazole. J Histochem Cytochem 5:420–436Google Scholar
  21. Padykula H, Herman E (1955) The specificity of the histochemical method for adenosine triphosphatase. J Histochem Cytochem 3:170–178Google Scholar
  22. Reiser PJ, Stokes BT, Rall JA (1982) Isometric contractile properties and velocity of shortening during avian myogenesis. Am J Physiol 243 (Cell Physiol):C177-C183Google Scholar
  23. Salmons S, Vrobova G (1969) The influence of activity on some contractile characteristics of mammalian fast and slow muscles. J Physiol 201:535–549Google Scholar
  24. Schiaffino S, Bormioli SP (1973) Adaptive changes in developing rat skeletal muscle in response to functional overload. Exp Neurol 40:126–137Google Scholar
  25. Staudte HW, Exner GU, Pette D (1973) Effects of short-term, high intensity (sprint) training on some contractile and metabolic characteristics of fast and slow muscles of the rat. Pflügers Arch 344:159–168Google Scholar
  26. Stevenson JAF, Box BM, Feleki B, Beaton JR (1966) Bouts of exercise and food intake in the rat. J Appl Physiol 21:118–122Google Scholar
  27. Wilkinson JG, Jobin, J Reardon FD, MacNab RBJ, Wenger HA (1978) Aerobic and anaerobic training: effect on developmental patterns in muscle fibre types. Can J Appl Sci 3 (3):163–167Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • G. C. B. Elder
    • 1
  • F. Vassallo
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Physical EducationDalhousie UniversityHalifaxCanada

Personalised recommendations