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Open Access Highly Accessed Open Badges Research article

Comparative analysis of mouse skeletal muscle fibre type composition and contractile responses to calcium channel blocker

Satu Mänttäri and Matti Järvilehto*

Author Affiliations

Department of Biology, University of Oulu, Oulu, FIN-90014, Finland

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BMC Physiology 2005, 5:4  doi:10.1186/1472-6793-5-4

Published: 14 February 2005



In this study, we examined the correlation between excitation-contraction coupling characteristics and skeletal muscle fibre type by (1) localizing the distribution of dihydropyridine receptor (DHPR) protein and (2) comparing the effect of DHPR blocker on muscles with different fibre type composition, in order to better understand the differences between contractile phenotypes of fibres and to explain the contradictory reports to date on the interaction of dihydropyridines with skeletal muscle isoform of DHPR.


Histochemical experiments revealed that fluorophore conjugated dihydropyridines stain selectively the membranes of muscle fibres. The staining was most evident in type IIA fibres. The major fibre type in gluteus and femoris, revealed by mATPase staining, was IIA (45.0 and 38.1 %, respectively). In gastrocnemius the content of IIA fibres was 22.7 %. Contraction forces before and after the addition of blocker for the three muscles investigated were: gluteus 0.075 ± 0.017 N vs. 0.052 ± 0.011 N, femoris 0.045 ± 0.005 N vs. 0.033 ± 0.005 N and gastrocnemius 0.089 ± 0.016 N vs. 0.075 ± 0.014 N, respectively. The attenuation of contraction force proportional to the cross-sectional area of the muscle was significantly (P = 0.023) higher in gluteus (28.3 ± 3.5 %) and femoris (27.6 ± 3.2 %) as compared to gastrocnemius (16.1 ± 2.5 %). However, no significant change in the control measurements was observed ruling out the possibility of fatigue.


The results indicate that the attenuation of the contraction force was largest in muscles with a high percentage of type IIA fibres. This supports our finding that the abundance of dihydropyridine receptors of IIA fibres outnumbers that in the other fibre types. The present data show that the correlation of density of dihydropyridine receptors can be one of the important factors influencing the overall contractile properties of the muscle and for its part explain the contradictory results of previous studies on coupling process.