Communication between Nerves and Muscles: Postnatal Development in Kitten Hindlimb Fast and Slow Twitch Muscle

  • R. A. Westerman
  • D. M. Lewis
  • J. Bagust
  • G. D. Edjtehadi
  • D. Pallot


Some properties of hindlimb fast- and slow-twitch muscles (F.H.L.+ and Soleus) and their innervation are described for two age groups of kittens (2 and 6 weeks). The length of single muscle fibres and their sarcomeres at three ages (1, 2 and 6 weeks) are given, together with the diameters of the muscle fibres at these ages. Isometric length — tension characteristics of the whole muscle have been normalised in terms of individual muscle fibre length. Isometric tetanic tension of at least 50 single motor units from both muscles at each age are given, and their mean tension relative to that of the whole muscle was found to be approximately twice as large as that in the adult. Total nerve axon counts and alpha motor axon counts are presented and show a progressive increase of approximately 15% from 2 to 6 weeks, and a further equal increment thereafter. Evidence for the presence of a significant degree of polyneuronal innervation of these twitch muscles in the young kitten is presented and the functional implications are discussed.


Motor Unit Sarcomere Length Ventral Root Postnatal Development Single Motor Unit 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1973

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. A. Westerman
    • 1
    • 2
  • D. M. Lewis
    • 1
  • J. Bagust
    • 1
  • G. D. Edjtehadi
    • 1
  • D. Pallot
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PhysiologyUniversity of BristolBristolEngland
  2. 2.Department of PhysiologyMonash UniversityAustralia

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