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Myosin Subunits And Contractile Properties Of Single Fibers From Hypokinetic Rat Muscles

P. J. Reiser, C. E. Kasper, R. L. Moss

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The effects of prolonged hypokinesia on the contractile properties and myosin isozymes of single fibers from the synergistic fast-twitch plantaris (PL) and slow-twitch soleus (SOL) skeletal muscles of adult rats were studied after 28 days of hindlimb suspension. There was a 31% increase in the mean maximal velocity of unloaded shortening (Vmax) among fibers from SOL with no change in the mean Vmax of fibers from PL after suspension. The myosin heavy and light chain (MHC and MLC) composition of bundles and the MHC composition of single fibers from control and suspended muscles were examined using sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis. There was a marked increase in the relative amount of fast-type MHC's in hypokinetic SOL and a smaller increase in the amount of fast-type MHC's in the PL. Relatively minor changes occurred in the MLC's during hypokinesia. As Vmax increased among individual fibers from control and suspended muscles, the relative amount of fast-type MHC's increased. The results demonstrate that the myosin isozyme composition of skeletal muscle, especially the heavy chains, is altered during hypokinesia, and this finding provides an explanation for changes in Vmax of rat single muscle fibers under the same conditions.