Variance in succinate dehydrogenase activity along the transverse and longitudinal axes of fibres from the cat tibialis posterior and diaphragm muscles was determined in order to estimate the three-dimensional distribution of mitochondria within single fibres. The variance (coefficient of variation) in succinate dehydrogenase activity along the transverse fibre axis was greatest in type IIB fibres from both muscles. Intracellular compartmentalization (i.e. subsarcolemmal vs central core differences in succinate dehydrogenase activity) was observed only in type II fibres from the tibialis posterior; the succinate dehydrogenase activity of the subsarcolemmal region was significantly greater than that of the central core. The extent of succinate dehydrogenase variance along the longitudinal fibre axis was dependent on the total length of the fibre segment analyzed, the muscle, and fibre type. The coefficient variation for short fibre segments, i.e. 40 μm, was significantly lower than that for much longer fibre segments (840 μm). Significant differences in the coefficient variation for 840 μm fibre segments were observed between the diaphragm and tibialis posterior muscles. The longitudinal variance in succinate dehydrogenase activity was higher in diaphragm muscle fibres. The succinate dehydrogenase variance along the longitudinal axis of type II fibres was significantly greater than that of the type I fibre population. These results indicate that mitochondria are heterogeneously distributed within muscle fibres. Possible functional implications of such intrafibre metabolic variance are discussed.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology