Redistribution of cell membrane probes following contraction-induced injury of mouse soleus muscle

Gordon L. Warren, Dawn A. Lowe, Deborah A. Hayes, Mark A. Farmer, R. B. Armstrong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Our aim was to study how mouse skeletal muscle membranes are altered by eccentric and isometric contractions. A fluorescent dialkyl carbocyanine dye (DiOC18(3)) was used to label muscle membranes, and the membranes accessible to the dye were observed by confocal laser scanning microscopy. Experiments were done on normal mouse soleus muscles and soleus muscles injured by 20 eccentric or 20 isometric contractions. Longitudinal optical sections of control muscle fibers revealed DiOC18(3) staining of the plasmalemma and regularly spaced transverse bands corresponding in location to the T-tubular system. Transverse optical sections showed an extensive reticular network with the DiOC18(3) staining. Injured muscle fibers showed distinctively different staining patterns in both longitudinal and transverse optical sections. Longitudinal optical sections of the injured fibers revealed staining in a longitudinally-oriented pattern. No correlations were found between the abnormal DiOC18(3) staining and the reductions in maximal isometric tetanic force or release of lactate dehydrogenase (P≥0.32). Additionally, no difference in the extent of abnormal staining was found between muscles performing eccentric contractions and those performing the less damaging isometric contractions. However, many fibers in muscles injured by eccentric contractions showed swollen regions with marked loss of membrane integrity and an elevated free cytosolic calcium concentration as observed in Fluo-3 images. In conclusion, a loss of cell membrane integrity results from contractile activity, enabling DiOC18(3) staining of internal membranes. The resulting staining pattern is striking and fibers with damaged cell membranes are easily distinguished from uninjured ones.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)311-320
Number of pages10
JournalCell & Tissue Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Nov 1995


  • Cell membrane
  • Fluorescent dyes
  • Membrane permeability
  • Mouse
  • Plasmalemma
  • Skeletal muscle
  • T-tubules


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