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Abstract

The distributions of desmin and vimentin were examined in frozen sections of cardiac muscle from embryonic, newborn, and adult Syrian hamster by using immunofluorescent methods. Frozen sections of newborn and adult skeletal muscle were used for comparison. Cardiac myocytes from day 9 in utero embryos already show a clear association of desmin with the sarcomeric myofibrils. In newborn hearts, desmin is localized in the myofibrillar Z-line areas as well as in the peripheral cytoplasm of the cell. Three days after birth, desmin is associated with the intercalated discs. Thus, in adult cardiac muscle, desmin is present in both Z-bands and intercalated discs. Skeletal muscle of newborn and adult hamster also contains desmin associated with the Z-lines of myofibrils. Vimentin is associated with the myofibrils of day 9 in utero cardiac muscle cells. The protein remains associated with the myofibrillar Z-lines in the newborns and adults. No detectable staining for vimentin was observed in newborn or adult hamster skeletal muscle. The existence of vimentin as well as desmin in differentiated cardiac muscle may be a consequence of the somewhat more epithelial-like nature of cardiac cells as compared to skeletal muscle syncitia.