The Histochemical Journal

, Volume 9, Issue 6, pp 751–757 | Cite as

Transitional stages in the histochemical development of muscle fibres during post-natal growth

  • H. J. Swatland


Serial frozen sections of longissimus dorsi muscles from seven pigs at different live weights (13 to 127 kg) were reacted for ATPase by the calcium method at an alkaline pH and for NADH oxidative activity. One hundred muscle fibres from each animal were identified individually in serial sections and their staining intensity was measured with a microscope photometer at 600 nm. For each section, staining intensity of fibres (% tranmission) was measured and converted to the nearest one-tenth unit of the range from the darkest to the lightest staining fibres. Frequency of occurrence of fibre types was plotted on a 10×10 grid using the range co-ordinates for NADH oxidative activity (vertical) and ATPase activity (horizontal). The commonly recognized histochemical fibre types in this muscle appeared as crowded areas in the grid but, in many cases, these areas were part of a continuous ‘L’ shaped distribution. In fibres having an ATPase staining intensity of 1.0 and 0.9 units of the range, a continuous but skewed distribution with regard to NADH oxidative activity was detected. In fibres with NADH oxidative activity of 0.6 to 1.0 units of the range, a continuous but irregular distribution with regard to ATPase activity was detected. Within this range, there was some evidence of a growth-related shift towards weaker ATPase activity.


ATPase Activity Staining Intensity Fibre Type Live Weight Shaped Distribution 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Ashmore, C. R., Tompkins, G. &Doerr, L. (1972). Postnatal development of muscle fiber types in domestic animals.J. Anim. Sci. 34, 37–41.Google Scholar
  2. Bendall, J. R. (1975). Cold-contracture and ATP-turnover in the red and white musculature of the pig, postmortem.J. Sci. Fd Agric. 26, 55–71.Google Scholar
  3. Burke, R. E., Levine, D. N., Zajac, F. E., Tsairis, P. &Engel, W. K. (1971). Mammalian motor units: Physiological-histochemical correlation in three types in cat gastrocnemius.Science 174, 709–12.Google Scholar
  4. Close, R. I. (1972). Dynamic properties of mammalian skeletal muscles.Physiol. Rev. 52, 129–97.Google Scholar
  5. Cooper, C. C., Cassens, R. G. &Briskey, E. J. (1969). Capillary distribution and fiber characteristics in skeletal muscle of stress-susceptible animals.J. Fd Sci. 34, 299–302.Google Scholar
  6. Cooper, C. C. Cassens, R. G., Kastenschmidt, L. L. &Briskey, E. J. (1970). Histochemical characterization of muscle differentiation.Dev. Biol. 23, 169–84.Google Scholar
  7. Davies, A. S. (1972). Postnatal changes in the histochemical fibre types of porcine skeletal muscle.J. Anat. 113, 213–40.Google Scholar
  8. Engel, W. K. (1974). Fiber-type nomenclature of human skeletal muscle for histochemical purposes.Neurology (Minneapolis) 24, 344–8.Google Scholar
  9. Engel, W. K. &Brooke, M. H. (1966). Muscle biopsy as a clinical diagnostic aid. In:Neurological Diagnostic Techniques (ed. W. S. Fields). Springfield, Illinois: Charles C. Thomas.Google Scholar
  10. Guth, L. (1973). Fact and artifact in the histochemical procedure for myofibrillar ATPase.Expl Neurol. 41, 440–50.Google Scholar
  11. Guth, L. &Samaha, F. J. (1970). Procedure for the histochemical demonstration of actomyosin ATPase.Expl Neurol. 26, 365–7.Google Scholar
  12. Moody, W. G. &Cassens, R. G. (1968). Histochemical differentiation of red and white muscle fibers.J. Anim. Sci. 27, 961–8.Google Scholar
  13. Nolte, J. &Pette, D. (1972). Microphotometric determination of enzyme activity in single cells in cryostat sections. II. Succinate dehydrogenase, lactate dehydrogenase and triosephosphate dehydrogenase activities in red, intermediate and white fibers of soleus and rectus femoris muscles of rat.J. Histochem. Cytochem. 20, 577–82.Google Scholar
  14. Samaha, F. J. &Yunis, E. J. (1973). Quantitative and histochemical demonstration of a calcium activated mitochondrial ATPase in skeletal muscle.Expl Neurol. 41, 431–9.Google Scholar
  15. Schmalbruch, H. &Kamieniecka, Z. (1975). Histochemical fiber typing and staining intensity in cat and rat muscles.J. Histochem. Cytochem. 23, 395–401.Google Scholar
  16. Swatland, H. J. (1975a). Histochemical development of myofibres in neonatal piglets.Res. vet. Sci. 18, 253–257.Google Scholar
  17. Swatland, H. J. (1975b). Relationships between mitochondrial content and glycogen distribution in porcine muscle fibres.Histochem. J. 7, 459–69.Google Scholar
  18. Van Den Hende, C., Muylle, E., Oyaert, W. &De Roose, P. (1972). Changes in muscle characteristics in growing pigs. Histochemical and electron microscopic study.Zentbl. Vet. Med. A. 19, 102–10.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Chapman and Hall Ltd 1977

Authors and Affiliations

  • H. J. Swatland
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Animal and Poultry ScienceUniversity of GuelphGuelphCanada

Personalised recommendations