Estimation of skeletal muscle fiber number by mean fiber dry weight


The purpose of this study was to determine whether skeletal muscle fiber number could be accurately estimated by the determination of mean fiber dry weight (MFD) and total muscle dry weight. The muscles studied were the soleus, plantaris, gastrocnemius, extensor digitorum longus, tibialis anterior, and biceps brachii of the rat, the anterior latissimus dorsi of the chicken, and the flexor carpi radialis of the cat. Bundles of fibers were carefully separated from the muscle following nitric acid digestion (ND) and placed in groups of similar length. MFD determined from 400 to 800 fibers from each group was used to estimate the number of fibers in the remainder of the group. Estimated fiber number was compared with the fiber number determined in the muscle from the contralateral limb by the ND method. No difference in fiber number was observed between the ND method and the MFD estimation method for any of the muscles used in the study. The results indicate that the MFD estimation method is an accurate and relatively rapid method of fiber number determination in skeletal muscle.

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Journal of Applied Physiology Respiratory Environmental and Exercise Physiology