Cortisone-induced changes in myosin heavy chain distribution in respiratory and hindlimb muscles

B. Polla, R. Bottinelli, D. Sandoli, C. Sardi, C. Reggiani

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In this study the effects of administration of cortisone acetate (100 mg kg-1 body weight subcutaneously for 11 days) on distribution and cross-sectional area of different fibre types of rat skeletal muscles were investigated. Diaphragm, parasternal intercostal (PI), extensor digitorum longus (EDL) and soleus muscles were examined in cortisone treated animals (CA) in comparison with ad libitum controls (CTRL) and pair-fed (PF) controls. Four fibre types (I or slow and IIA, IIX, IIB or fast) were identified on the basis of their myosin heavy chain composition using a set of monoclonal antibodies. In CA rats the reduction of cross-sectional area was above 30% in IIX fibres of diaphragm, IIB fibres of PI and in all fast fibres of EDL. In all muscles slow fibres were spared from atrophy. Significant variations in fibre type distribution were found in the muscles of CA rats when compared to CTRL. The percentage of IIB fibres decreased in EDL, PI and diaphragm. This decrease was accompanied by an increase in the percentage of IIA fibres in the same muscles. No changes in the percentage of slow fibres and of fast IIX fibres were observed in EDL. PI and diaphragm of CA rats in comparison with CTRL. In soleus of CA rats the proportion of IIA fibres was lower than in CTRL. In EDL of PF rats atrophy of IIA fibres and changes in fibre type distribution were similar to those observed in CA rats. In diaphragm, PI and soleus of PF rats no significant decrease in fibre cross-sectional area nor significant changes in fibre distribution were found in comparison with CTRL rats.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)353-361
Number of pages9
JournalActa Physiologica Scandinavica
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1994


  • Cortisone acetate
  • Glucocorticoids
  • Muscle fibre types
  • Myosin heavy chain
  • Undernutrition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology


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