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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Individual differences in multiple-bag spindles of cat superficial lumbrical muscles.

A total of 791 spindle poles was analysed with regard to intrafusal fibre composition in the first and second superficial lumbrical muscles from the right and left hindfeet of 9 male and 5 female adult cats. Bag and chain muscle fibres were identified by their myofibrillar ATPase staining profile in the B region, after either acid or alkaline preincubation. A high proportion of the spindle pole population (43.2%) was observed to contain three or more (up to 5) bag fibres; those poles were classified as multiple-bag spindle poles. In the 334 muscle spindles in which both poles were studied, 42 bag fibres (12.6%) were found to be of the 'mixed' type, that is a fibre in which the two poles differ in their ATPase staining profile (either bag1/bag2 or bag/chain). The variability of the intrafusal fibre content observed in spindles of these muscles has been studied in relation to individual characteristics such as sex, weight and side of the animal. In general, multiple-bag spindles are more frequent in male than in female cats and in right as compared to left side muscles. Nearly all 'mixed' bag intrafusal fibres (38 out of 42) were observed in spindles containing 3 or more bag fibres. In 3-bag spindles the proportion of 'mixed' bag spindles is approximately the same in male and female cats. The ratio of 'dynamic' (mean polar bag1 content) to 'static' (mean polar bag2 plus chain fibre content) intrafusal effectors per muscle tends to increase in spindles of right side muscles and to decrease in the heaviest animals. The quantitative and qualitative differences in fibre content of spindles observed in first lumbrical muscles of different animals suggest that the spindle fibre composition, especially that of the 'dynamic' bag1 fibre, may be related to individual predetermined and/or acquired factors.[1]


  1. Individual differences in multiple-bag spindles of cat superficial lumbrical muscles. Decorte, L., Emonet-Dénand, F., Harker, D.W., Laporte, Y. J. Anat. (1990) [Pubmed]
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