Quantitative morphology of stimulation-induced damage in rabbit fast-twitch skeletal muscles

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The purpose of this study was to examine the contention that stimulation-induced damage, resulting in degeneration with subsequent regeneration, plays a major role in the transformation of fibre type brought about by chronic electrical stimulation. Data from histological and histochemical sections of 9-day-stimulated rabbit fast-twitch muscles were analysed with multivariate statistical techniques. Fibre degeneration and regeneration varied non-systematically between sample areas at any given cross-sectional level. In the extensor digitorum longus muscle, but not in the tibialis anterior, there was more degeneration in proximal than in distal portions of the muscle. The extensor digitorum longus muscle consistently showed more degeneration than the tibialis anterior muscle. Degeneration was less extensive for an intermittent pattern of stimulation that delivered half the aggregate number of impulses of continuous stimulation. Degeneration and regeneration varied markedly between individual rabbits in each of the groups. Sections that revealed the most degeneration and regeneration also had more fibres that reacted positively with an anti-neonatal antibody. Rigorous analysis of different sources of variation has helped to explain apparent conflicts in the literature. The incidence of muscle fibre damage in the stimulated tibialis anterior muscle is low, showing that the contribution of degenerative-regenerative phenomena to fibre type conversion in this muscle is insignificant.


  • Jan Lexell
  • Jonathan Jarvis
  • David Downham
  • Stanley Salmons
External organisations
  • External Organization - Unknown
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Cell Biology


  • Histochemistry, Degeneration, Immunohistochemistry, Morphometry, Muscle, Stimulation, chronic, Rabbit
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)195-204
JournalCell and Tissue Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1992
Publication categoryResearch
Externally publishedYes