Histochemical and molecular determination of fiber types in chemically skinned single equine skeletal muscle fibers. Academic Article uri icon


  • Until now, there has been no reliable method for histochemical determination of fiber types of single skinned muscle fibers. The major problem arises from the fact that most histochemical techniques use cross-sections of a large group of fibers and compare a given fiber with those surrounding it. This is not possible with a single skinned fiber which has been separated from a bundle to be used for mechanical analysis. A further problem is that the skinning procedure itself may alter the staining pattern. We have developed a procedure by which multiple cross-sections of single skinned fibers can be exposed to various histochemical reactions and the staining patterns compared on the same slide to those of frozen muscle and skinned bundles. By this procedure, three fiber types were distinguished by both Ca2+-ATPase and SDH reactions. The fiber typings determined from both enzyme systems correlated well with each other. Although we were able to differentiate only between slow and fast fibers by SDS-PAGE, these results corroborated the histochemical classification. This procedure will clearly be useful in skinned single muscle fiber mechanics experiments performed to determine functional differences among fiber types.

publication date

  • November 1989