Alterations in Z-line thickness following fast motoneuron transplantation onto slow twitch skeletal muscle fibers
Differentiation of skeletal muscle fibers into fast and slow twitch appears to be under control of the stimulation pattern imparted by motoneurons innervating these muscle fibers. Fast twitch muscle fibers receive intense stimulation for brief periods of time while slow twitch muscle fibers receive less intense stimulation for much longer periods of time. This study examined thickness of Zlines in dually innervated skeletal muscle fibers of slow twitch soleus muscle following transplantation of the fast extensor digitorum longus (EDL) nerve onto the surface of the soleus. Eight individual dually innervated fibers were dissected from four transplanted mouse soleus muscles and examined with a transmission electron microscope. Z-lines in these dually innervated fibers were thinner (mean = 83 nm) than control soleus (mean = 123 nm) and thicker than control EDL (mean = 57 nm). A significant difference (p< .002) was also found between Z-line thickness near the foreign EDL endplate (mean = 81 nm) versus the original soleus endplate (mean = 85 nm). These results suggest the factors controlling protein synthesis in skeletal muscle fibers have both a global and localized effect.