Morphometry and histoenzymology of the hamster tenuissimus and its muscle spindles

Authors

  • Robert M. Patten,

    1. Department of Anatomy, Faculty of Medicine, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada V6T 1Z3
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  • William K. Ovalle

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Anatomy, Faculty of Medicine, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada V6T 1Z3
    • Department of Anatomy, Faculty of Medicine, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada V6T 1Z3
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Abstract

Muscle spindles and extrafusal fibers in the tenuissimus muscle of mature golden Syrian hamsters were studied morphologically and quantitatively using several light microscopic techniques. Muscle spindles were identified in serial-transvere frozen-sections of whole muscles stained with hematoxylin and eosin. Five tenuissimus muscles were examined from origin to insertion, and the locations of individual receptors were plotted in camera-lucida reconstructions. Spindles were found in proximity to the main neurovascular bundle in the central core of each muscle. A range of 16–20 receptors was noted per muscle. The mean muscle spindle index (the total number of spindles per gram of muscle weight) was 503 and the average spindle length was 7.5 mm. Oxidative enzyme and myosin adenosine-triphosphatase (ATPase) staining profiles were also evaluated in the intrafusal and extrafusal fibers in each muscle. Even numbers of type I and type IIA extrafusal fibers were distributed homogeneously throughout all muscle cross-sections. Histochemical staining patterns varied along the lengths of the three intrafusal fiber types. Nuclear chain fibers possessed staining properties similar to the type IIA extrafusal fibers and exhibited no regional variations. Bag1 fibers displayed staining variability, particularly when treated for myosin ATPase under acid preincubation conditions. Some spindles were isolated under darkfield illumination and then either treated with 7-nitrobenz-2-oxa-1, 3-diazole (NBD)-phallacidin to detect filamentous actin by fluorescence microscopy, or prepared for conventional scanning electron microscopy (SEM). By fluorescence microscopy, a registered actin banding-pattern was observed in the sarcomeres of the intrafusal fibers, and variations in the intensity of banding were noted amongst different fibers. SEM revealed punctaie sensory nerve endings that adhered intimately to the surfaces of underlying intrafusal fibers in the equatorial and juxtaequatorial regions. By transmission electron microscopy (TEM) these endings appeared crescent-shaped and were enveloped by external laminae. Each profile contained numerous mitochondria and cytoskeletal organelles. The high spindle density observed in this muscle suggests that the hamster tenuissimus may function in hindlimb proprioception.

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