Size and myonuclear domains in Rhesus soleus muscle fibers: short-term spaceflight.

R. R. Roy, H. Zhong, R. J. Talmadge, S. C. Bodine, J. W. Fanton, I. Koslovskaya, V. R. Edgerton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


The cross-sectional area (CSA), myonuclear number per mm of fiber length, and myonuclear domain (cytoplasmic volume/myonucleus) of mechanically isolated single fibers from biopsies of the soleus muscle of 5 vivarium control, 3 flight simulation and 2 flight (BION 11) Rhesus monkeys (Macaca [correction of Macacca] mulatta) were determined using confocal microscopy before and after a 14-day experimental period. Simulation monkeys were confined in chairs placed in capsules identical to those used during the flight. Fibers were classified as type I, type II or hybrid (containing both types I and II) based on myosin heavy chain (MHC) gel electrophoresis. A majority of the fibers sampled contained only type I MHC, i.e. 89, 62 and 68% for the control, simulation and flight groups, respectively. Most of the remaining fibers were hybrids, i.e. 8, 36 and 32% for the same groups. There were no significant pre-post differences in the fiber type composition for any of the experimental groups. There also were no significant pre-post differences in fiber CSA, myonuclear number or myonuclear domain. There was, however, a tendency for the fibers in the post-flight biopsies to have a smaller mean CSA and myonuclear domain (approximately 10%, p=0.07) than the fibers in the pre-flight biopsy. The combined mean cytoplasmic volume/myonucleus for all muscle fiber phenotypes in the Rhesus soleus muscle was approximately 25,000 micrometers3 and there were no differences in pre-post samples for the control and simulated groups. The cytoplasmic domains tended to be lower (p=0.08) after than before flight. No phenotype differences in cytoplasmic domains were observed. These data suggest that after a relatively short period of actual spaceflight, modest fiber atrophy occurs in the soleus muscle fibers without a concomitant change in myonuclear number.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)49-56
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of gravitational physiology : a journal of the International Society for Gravitational Physiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2001


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