Pflügers Archiv

, Volume 360, Issue 3, pp 199–218 | Cite as

The influence of innervation on the differentiation of contractile speeds of developing chick muscles

  • Tessa Gordon
  • Gerta Vrbová


  1. 1.

    The role of innervation of the differentiation of contractile speeds was studied in the slow anterior latissimus dorsi (ALD) and fast posterior latissimus dorsi (PLD) muscle of the chick.

  2. 2.

    These muscles become innervated during the 12th and 15th day of embryonic development. At this time both muscles contract and relax extremely slowly and their contractile speeds are very similar. By the 18th day their contraction and relaxation becomes more rapid. It is at this time that the contractile characteristics of both muscles also become very different from each other, ALD being about 3 times slower than PLD. Thus innervation percedes differentiation of contractile speeds by several days.

  3. 3.

    The influence of innervation on the contractile characteristics of developing slow and fast muscles was studied during muscle regeneration in adults. When a slow ALD muscle was minced and implanted in place of a fast PLD the newly regenerated ALD became innervated by a PLD nerve and resembled a fast PLD. Conversely, when PLD muscles were minced and replaced ALD the regenerated PLD was innervated by ALD nerve and became slow.

  4. 4.

    Histological examination revealed that the regenerated ALD became focally innervated, and the regenerated PLD multiply innervated.

  5. 5.

    Thus, the contractile speeds are not predetermined properties of the muscle fibre. Both contractile characteristic and the pattern of innervation of developing muscles are determined by the motor nerve.


Key words

Contractile speeds Development Slow muscles Fast muscles 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1975

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tessa Gordon
    • 1
  • Gerta Vrbová
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PhysiologyMedical School, University of BirminghamBirminghamUK

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