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Correlation of electrophysiological, histochemical, and mechanical properties in fibres of the coxa rotator muscle of the locust, Locusta migratoria

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The fibre composition of the anterior coxa rotator muscle of the locust middle leg (M92) was examined. The muscle is composed of 90–100 fibres. Muscle fibres were characterized with regard to innervation pattern, electrophysiological properties, and morphological parameters. Activity and isoenzyme composition of myofibrillar ATPase, succinic acid dehydrogenase (SDH) activity and glycogen content were examined employing histochemical techniques. Shortening velocity and the dependence of tension on intracellular Ca2+ were determined in skinned fibre experiments. A close match was observed between the innervation pattern of the muscle fibres and their histochemical and physiological properties. The combination of all parameters examined allowed an accurate classification of the muscle fibres into three types. Within a given type, broad variability of some properties was observed (SDH activity, Ca2+ sensitivity) while others assumed distinct values (innervation pattern, shortening velocity). The comprehensive characterization of muscle fibre properties permits a functional interpretation of fibre heterogeneity with regard to muscle performance. Fibres with the same innervation pattern may be recruited specifically, according to their electric properties and Ca2+ sensitivities. The resulting specific recruitment of fibres with different mechanical responses should allow a subtle control of muscular force, with regard to force amplitude, temporal characteristics of contraction, and metabolic cost.

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CI1 :

common inhibitory neurone one


ijp excitatory, inhibitory junctional potential


ethylene glycol-bis[β-aminoethyl ether] N,N,N′,N′-tetraacetic acid


myofibrillar adenosinetriphosphatase


3-[N-morpholino]-2-hydroxypropanesulfonic acid


anterior rotator muscle of the coxa


Hill coefficient

pCa50 :

pCa corresponding to half-maximal tension

P0 :

maximal isometric tension


succinic acid dehydrogenase

V max :

maximal shortening velocity


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Müller, A.R., Wolf, H., Galler, S. et al. Correlation of electrophysiological, histochemical, and mechanical properties in fibres of the coxa rotator muscle of the locust, Locusta migratoria . J Comp Physiol B 162, 5–15 (1992). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00257930

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Key words

  • Skinned muscle fibres
  • Neuromuscular properties
  • Histochemistry
  • Mechanical properties
  • Locusta migratoria