This study examined two putative mechanisms of new fiber formation in postnatal skeletal muscle, namely longitudinal fragmentation of existing fibers and de novo formation. The relative contributions of these two mechanisms to fiber formation in hypertrophying anterior latissimus dorsi (ALD) muscle were assessed by quantitative analysis of their nuclear populations. Muscle hypertrophy was induced by wing-weighting for 1 week. All nuclei formed during the weighting period were labeled by continuous infusion of 5-bromo-2'-deoxyuridine (BrdU), a thymidine analog, and embryonic-like fibers were identified using an antibody to ventricular-like embryonic (V-EMB) myosin. The number of BrdU-labeled and unlabeled nuclei in V-EMB-positive fibers were counted. Wing-weighting resulted in significant muscle enlargement and the appearance of many V-EMB fibers. The majority of V-EMB fibers were completely independent of mature fibers and had a nuclear density characteristics of developing fibers. Furthermore, nearly 100% of the nuclei in independent V-EMB fibers were labeled. These findings strongly suggest that most V-EMB fibers were nascent fibers formed de novo during the weighting period by satellite cell activation and fusion. Nascent fibers were found primarily in the space between fascicles where they formed a complex anastomosing network of fibers running at angles to one another. Although wing-weighting induced an increase in the number of branched fibers, there was no evidence that V-EMB fibers were formed by longitudinal fragmentation. The location of newly formed fibers in wing-weighted and regenerating ALD muscle was compared to determine whether satellite cells in the ALD muscle were unusual in that, if stimulated to divide, they would form fibers in the inter- and intrafascicular space. In contrast to wing-weighted muscle, nascent fibers were always found closely associated with necrotic fibers. These results suggest that wing-weighting is not simply another model of regeneration, but rather produces a unique environment which induces satellite cell migration and subsequent fiber formation in the interfascicular space. De novo fiber formation is apparently the principal mechanism for the hyperplasia reported to occur in the ALD muscle undergoing hypertrophy induced by wing-weighting.
- Models, Anatomic
- Muscle Development
- Wings, Animal
- NASA Discipline Musculoskeletal
- Non-NASA Center