Previous studies suggest that fast-twitch skeletal muscle overloaded by surgical removal of synergists contains a greater percent of slow-twitch fibers than normal muscle. Therefore we examined subcellular systems known to represent biochemical properties of slow-twitch skeletal muscle by measuring myosin ATPase, Ca2+ regulation of myofibril ATPase, Ca2+ uptake of sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR), and marker enzymes of glycogenolysis in normal soleus (NS) and in normal (NP) and surgically overloaded (OP) plantaris muscles of adult female rats. The OP muscles were 65% larger than NP muscles (P less than 0.001). Specific activity of myosin and myofibril ATPase was approximately 25% lower in OP compared with NP muscle (P less than 0.05). Sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis of myosin revealed the presence of more slow and less fast myosin light-chain components in OP muscles. Although SR of NP muscle took up more Ca2+ than OP muscle during the initial for both groups. Marker regulatory enzymes of glycogenolysis collectively were reduced by 40% in OP compared with NP muscle (P less than 0.001). Collectively the data are consistent with the concept that some muscle fiber types were converted from “fast” to “slow” in the OP muscle.
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