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

The origin of secondary myotubes in mammalian skeletal muscles: ultrastructural studies.

The distribution of secondary myotubes and undifferentiated mononucleated cells (presumed to be myoblasts) within foetal IVth lumbrical muscles of the rat was analyzed with serial section electron microscopy. In all myotube clusters for which the innervation zone was located, every secondary myotube overlapped the end-plate region of the primary myotube. No secondary myotubes were ever demonstrated to occur at a distance from the primary myotube innervation zone. This indicates that new secondary myotubes begin to form only in the innervation zone of the muscle. Some young secondary myotubes made direct contact with a nerve terminal, but we cannot say if this is true for all developing secondary myotubes. Myoblasts were not clustered near the innervation zone, but were uniformly distributed throughout the muscle. Myoblasts were frequently interposed between a primary and a secondary myotube, in equally close proximity to both cell membranes. We conclude that specificity in myoblast-myotube fusion does not depend on restrictions in the physical distribution of myoblasts within the muscle, and therefore must reflect more subtle mechanisms for intercellular recognition.[1]


  1. The origin of secondary myotubes in mammalian skeletal muscles: ultrastructural studies. Duxson, M.J., Usson, Y., Harris, A.J. Development (1989) [Pubmed]
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