Loss of cytoplasmic basic fibroblast growth factor from physiologically wounded myofibers of normal and dystrophic muscle

M. S.F. Clarke, R. Khakee, P. L. McNeil

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Using muscle as an in vivo model system, we have tested the hypothesis that basic fibroblast growth factor is released from a cytoplasmic storage site into the extracellular environment via diffusion through survivable, mechanically-induced plasma membrane disruptions. Normal and dystrophic (mdx) mouse muscle were studied. Strong immunostaining for bFGF was detected in the cytoplasm of myofibers of uninjured muscle fixed in situ by perfusion. By contrast, myofibers did not stain cytoplasmically for bFGF after suffering lethal disruptions of their plasma membranes caused by freezing and thawing followed by sectioning. Sub-lethal, transient disruptions of myofiber plasma membranes - termed plasma membrane 'wounds' - were shown to be induced by needle puncture or exercise of muscle. Quantitative image analysis revealed that these wounded fibers contained significantly reduced levels of bFGF. Dystrophic exercised and unexercised muscle was found to possess an ~6-fold higher proportion of wounded myofibers than does normal muscle under equivalent conditions. Release of bFGF at a rate that is a direct function of the frequency of myofiber wounding may explain in part how a muscle adjusts its growth to meet changing mechanical demand as well as the pathological hypertrophy characteristic of certain stages of muscular dystrophy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)121-133
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Cell Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 1993



  • Dystrophic muscle
  • Muscle
  • Myofibers
  • Wounded myofibers
  • bFGF

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology

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