Adult and developmental myosin heavy chain isoforms in soleus muscle of aging Fischer Brown Norway rat

LeAnn M Snow, Linda K McLoon, LaDora V Thompson

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47 Scopus citations


Fiber type shifts in aging skeletal muscle have been studied with myofibrillar ATPase histochemistry and gel electrophoresis, but less commonly with immunohistochemistry. Immunohistochemical study of myosin heavy chains (MHCs) in single myofibers yields additional information about aged skeletal muscle. Furthermore, many studies of aging rodent skeletal muscle have been performed on fast-MHC-predominant muscle and in several different strains. The aim of this study was to evaluate immunohistochemically MHC characteristics in the slow-MHC-predominant soleus muscle in the Fischer Brown Norway F1 hybrid aging rat (FBN). Three age groups of FBN rats were studied: 12 months, 30 months, and 36 months. Soleus muscles were excised, quick-frozen, and stained immunohistochemically for slow, fast, developmental, and neonatal MHC isoforms. Cross-sections were evaluated for the number and cross-sectional areas of fibers expressing each isoform. Single myofibers in soleus muscles of the aged rats showed significantly greater amounts of coexpression of slow and fast MHC than did younger animals. This change began by 30 months of age, but did not reach statistical significance until 36 months of age. The soleus from 36-month-old rats also expressed greater amounts of developmental MHC than did the other groups. These developmental MHC-positive myofibers also coexpressed either slow or slow and fast MHC. The age-related increase in MHC coexpression of slow with fast isoforms may indicate a fiber type shift suggestive of denervation that outpaces reinnervation. The developmental MHC-positive fibers provide evidence of ongoing myofiber remodeling in the oldest rats in the midst of the fiber degeneration of aging.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)866-873
Number of pages8
JournalAnatomical Record - Part A Discoveries in Molecular, Cellular, and Evolutionary Biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 2005


  • Aging
  • Developmental myosin
  • Fischer 344/Brown-Norway F1 hybrid
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Myosin heavy chain coexpression


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