Since the earliest days of tissue culture, attempts have been made to maintain skeletal muscle in isolation from the body (Harrison, 1907, 1910; Lewis, 1915; Lewis and Lewis, 1917b). Early studies used organ culture or explants of muscle, but often such tissue suffered from ‘dedifferentiation’, i.e. loss of characteristic structures of the tissue and reappearance of the cytological features typical of an earlier state of differentiation. Despite this difficulty, Harrison (1907, 1910) observed muscle fibres, some of which were striated, growing out of an explant of the myotomes of frog embryos. The Lewises described the behaviour of explants of chick embryo leg muscle in culture. Some of the outgrowths from the explants contracted spontaneously in the absence of nerves, although cross-striations could not be seen in such myogenic cells (Lewis, 1915). No mitotic figures were observed in the nuclei of the long fibres, but dividing uninuclear cells were noted (Lewis and Lewis, 1917b). After the establishment of enzyme dissociation techniques (Moscona, 1952; Rinaldini, 1959), studies were made on embryonic skeletal muscle grown in monolayer cell cultures (see Murray, 1960, for a review of early work), and the sequence of events during differentiation of skeletal muscle in culture has since been studied in some detail.


Skeletal Muscle Acetylcholine Receptor Chick Embryo Culture Muscle Cell Human Myotubes 


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Copyright information

© Alan L. Harvey 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alan L. Harvey
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Physiology and PharmacologyUniversity of StrathclydeGlasgowUK

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