The differentiation of Purkinje fibres and ordinary ventricular and atrial myocytes in bovine hearts was studied with specific antibodies against M-line proteins (MM-creatine kinase and myomesin) and with enzyme histochemistry (succinate dehydrogenase and mitochondrial glycerol-3-phosphate dehydrogenase). MM-creatine kinase was detected at an earlier stage in Purkinje fibres and atrial myocytes than in ordinary ventricular myocytes. The findings are in agreement with previous ultrastructural observations that an earlier appearance of a dense M-band occurs in Purkinje fibres than in ordinary ventricular myocytes. Myomesin was detected in all three cell types even at early foetal stages, in accordance with suggestions that it is an integral component of the myofibrillar structure. The activity of succinate dehydrogenase gradually increased in both ordinary ventricular and atrial myocytes, while the activity of mitochondrial glycerol-3-phosphate dehydrogenase was high at different stages of early foetal development in the two tissues, finally becoming low in the adult stage. The activity of succinate dehydrogenase and mitochondrial glycerol-3-phosphate dehydrogenase seemed to remain unchanged in the Purkinje fibres from early to late foetal stages. The present study shows that the Purkinje fibres are already different from ordinary ventricular myocytes at early foetal stages and that the two cell types differentiate in different ways. It is concluded that there are also developmental differences between ordinary ventricular and atrial myocytes.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology