To study the distribution of oxidative capacity in muscle fibers, mitochondrial volume density and the oxidative capacity of isolated mitochondria were evaluated. Mitochondria were isolated from the subsarcolemmal and interfibrillar areas of the soleus (a muscle largely made up of slow oxidative fibers) and the gastrocnemius medial head (a muscle largely made up of fast glycolytic fibers) of the rat, and their oxidative capacities were evaluated using NADH- and FADH-generating substrates. In the soleus muscle, the subsarcolemmal mitochondria showed a lower oxidative capacity than interfibrillar mitochondria when NADH-generating substrates were used. This difference was not observed when FADH-generating substrates were used. In the gastrocnemius, there were no differences in the oxidative capacity of the subsarcolemmal and the interfibrillar mitochondria. Additionally, citrate synthase activity was found to be lower in mitochondria isolated from the subsarcolemmal area of the soleus than in the other mitochondrial preparations. These findings indicate that the difference in oxidative capacity of the isolated mitochondria is not related to differences in the inner mitochondrial membranes. Mitochondrial volume density was evaluated using electron micrographs of the subsarcolemmal and interfibrillar areas of slow oxidative fibers from the soleus and fast glycolytic fibers from the gastrocnemius. In the slow oxidative fibers, mitochondrial volume density in the subsarcolemmal area was four times higher than in the interfibrillar area. In the fast glycolytic fibers, mitochondrial volume densities in the subsarcolemmal and interfibrillar areas did not differ from that of the interfibrillar area of the slow oxidative fibers. The oxidative capacity of the tissue, calculated by multiplying the mitochondrial oxidative capacities by the mitochondrial volume densities, was 2-4 times higher in the subsarcolemmal areas of the soleus fibers than in the other areas studied. This was true in spite of the fact that the oxidative capacity of the subsarcolemmal mitochondria of the slow oxidative fibers was lower than those of the other mitochondrial populations studied. These results indicate that the difference in oxidative capacity between slow oxidative fibers and fast glycolytic fibers is the result of the much greater mitochondrial volume density in the subsarcolemmal area of the slow oxidative fibers.
Oxidative capacity distribution in skeletal muscle fibers of the rat.
M Philippi, A H Sillau; Oxidative capacity distribution in skeletal muscle fibers of the rat.. J Exp Biol 1 April 1994; 189 (1): 1–11. doi: https://doi.org/10.1242/jeb.189.1.1
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