An immunoelectron microscopic examination of the intermediate filament protein, desmin, in exercise-damaged skeletal muscle uri icon


  • Intense exercise has been shown to produce pathological changes in normal skeletal muscle ultrastructure. Eccentric exercise (muscle lengthening during active tension development) in particular has been shown to cause the most severe muscle damage, and studies of both human and animal tissue following eccentric exercise have documented disruption to the contractile apparatus. The disruption originates at the Z-disc, which appears broadened, smeared, or totally disrupted, with Z-discs of adjacent myofibrils out of register and running a “zig-zag” course transversely across the fiber. This condition is known as Z-line streaming. Several researchers have implicated the disruption of the intermediate filament system in the etiology of exercise-induced Z-line streaming, as these filaments are believed to link adjacent myofibrils at the level of the Z-disc. The intermediate filaments are composed predominantly of the proteins desmin and vimentin. This study utilized immunoelectron microscopic localization of desmin in order to elucidate the role of the intermediate filament system in Zline streaming of eccentrically-exercised skeletal muscle.

publication date

  • August 1991