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Data on the distribution of fibre types in thirty-six human muscles

An autopsy study
  • M.A. Johnson
    Affiliations
    Muscular Dystrophy Research Laboratories, Regional Neurological Centre, General Hospital, University of Newcastle upon Tyne, Newcastle upon Tyne Great Britain

    Department of Medical Statistics, University of Newcastle upon Tyne, Newcastle upon Tyne Great Britain
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  • J. Polgar
    Affiliations
    Muscular Dystrophy Research Laboratories, Regional Neurological Centre, General Hospital, University of Newcastle upon Tyne, Newcastle upon Tyne Great Britain

    Department of Medical Statistics, University of Newcastle upon Tyne, Newcastle upon Tyne Great Britain
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  • D. Weightman
    Affiliations
    Muscular Dystrophy Research Laboratories, Regional Neurological Centre, General Hospital, University of Newcastle upon Tyne, Newcastle upon Tyne Great Britain

    Department of Medical Statistics, University of Newcastle upon Tyne, Newcastle upon Tyne Great Britain
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  • D. Appleton
    Affiliations
    Muscular Dystrophy Research Laboratories, Regional Neurological Centre, General Hospital, University of Newcastle upon Tyne, Newcastle upon Tyne Great Britain

    Department of Medical Statistics, University of Newcastle upon Tyne, Newcastle upon Tyne Great Britain
    Search for articles by this author
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      Abstract

      Samples of skeletal muscle were taken from 50 sites in each of 6 previously normal male autopsy subjects aged between 17 and 30 years. The respective percentages of Type I and Type II fibres were calculated and showed that there was a wide variation in fibre type proportions between the 6 samples in almost all the muscles studied. Examination of the mean fibre type proportions of each muscle revealed that predominantly tonic muscles had a high percentage of Type I fibres and predominantly phasic muscles had a high percentage of Type II fibres. Most of the muscles studied were known to fulfil both tonic and phasic functions, however, and showed no striking preponderance of either fibre type.
      The spatial distribution of the fibre types was examined in order to determine whether this was random or not. The number of “enclosed” fibres observed in the actual samples was compared statistically with the number expected to occur in a hexagonal lattice model, assuming a random distribution. In the great majority of muscles, the distribution of the fibre types was in fact random, though isolated instances of grouping of fibres of uniform type were noted in some distal muscles and more regularly in extensor digitorum brevis.
      The methods used in the quantitative assessment of the proportions and spatial distribution of the respective fibre types in normal muscle have obvious applications in the study of neuromuscular disease.
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