Correlation between histochemically assessed fiber type distribution and isomyosin and myosin heavy chain content in porcine skeletal muscles. Academic Article uri icon


  • Highly sensitive enzyme assays developed to differentiate skeletal muscle fibers allow the recognition of three main fiber types: slow-twitch oxidative (SO), fast-twitch oxidative glycolytic (FOG), and fast-twitch glycolytic (FG). Myosin, the predominant contractile protein in mammalian skeletal muscle, can be separated based on the electrophoretic mobility under nondissociating conditions into SM2, SM1, IM, FM3, and FM2 isoforms, or under dissociating conditions into myosin heavy chain (MHC) I, IIb, IIx/d, and IIa. The purpose of the present study was to determine whether the histochemical method of differentiation of fiber types is consistent with the electrophoretically identified isomyosin and MHC isoforms. These comparisons were made using serratus ventralis (SV), gluteus medius (GM), and longissimus muscles (LM) from 13 pigs. Two calculation methods for the histochemical assessed fiber type distribution were adopted. The first method incorporated the number of fibers counted for each fiber type and calculated a percentage of the total fiber number (fiber number percentage: FNP). The second method expressed the cross-sectional area of each fiber type as a percentage of the total fiber area measured per muscle (fiber area percentage: FAP). Independent of the calculation methods, correlation analyses revealed in all muscles a strong relation between SO fibers, the slow isomyosin (SM1 and SM2), and MHCI, as well as between the FG fibers, the fast isomyosin (FM3 and FM2), and MHCIIx/b content (P<.05). There were no correlations between FOG fiber population assessed by histochemical analysis and intermediate isoform (IM) or MHCIIa content. The present results did not provide conclusive evidence as to which of the calculation methods (FNP or FAP) was more closely related to myosin composition of skeletal muscles. Despite some incompatibility between the methods, the present study shows that histochemical as well as electrophoretic analyses yielded important information about the composition of porcine skeletal muscle. The combination of the two methods may be essential to accurately characterize porcine skeletal muscles.

published proceedings

  • J Anim Sci

author list (cited authors)

  • Bee, G., Solomon, M. B., Czerwinski, S. M., Long, C., & Pursel, V. G.

citation count

  • 31

complete list of authors

  • Bee, G||Solomon, MB||Czerwinski, SM||Long, C||Pursel, VG

publication date

  • January 1999