The present study examines the influence of denervation on the regenerative ability of skeletal muscle in rats. Muscle denervation was achieved by transecting and ligating the cut ends of the sciatic nerve. Four to 48 weeks after denervation, the extensor digitorum longus (EDL) muscle was autotransplanted to induce muscle regeneration. The transplanted EDL muscles were examined at 1–12 weeks. Normal (i.e., no prior denervation) EDL muscle autotransplants were also examined for comparison. Denervation resulted in progressive atrophy of muscle, marked by a reduction in the size of myofibers and an increase in endomysialperimysial connective tissue. In spite of these alterations, typical events of muscle regeneration were invariably observed after transplantation. Initial myofiber degeneration and subsequent regeneration of myotubes occurred in a manner similar to normal muscle transplants. However, only a partial maturation of myotubes was observed in denervated muscles. These results show that extended denervation does not abolish the capability for muscle regeneration. The precursor myosatellite cells, proposed to be responsible for muscle regeneration, retain their regenerative potential after denervation. It is concluded, however, that the presence of intact innervation is crucial for the terminal differentation and maturation of regenerating muscle.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics