Scanning electron microscopic study of denervated and reinnervated intrafusal muscle fibers in rats

Muscle Nerve. 1992 Apr;15(4):433-41. doi: 10.1002/mus.880150402.


Isolated muscle spindles from lower lumbrical muscles of rats were used to study the 3-dimensional organization of intrafusal structures by scanning electron microscopy following (a) complete denervation, (b) reinnervation after a single crush lesion of the sciatic nerve, or (c) reinnervation after transection and immediate suture of this nerve. One week after complete denervation, previous sites of intrafusal motor endplates were transformed into sarcolemmal ovoid bulges. These bulges persisted in denervated muscle spindles up to 12 weeks. Regenerated motor nerve endings were detected on intrafusal muscle fibers 1 month, and thereafter following sciatic nerve crush injuries, and 3 months and later following transection and suture of the nerve. Furthermore, 3 different types of subsynaptic areas of motor nerve terminals were observed. The scanning electron microscopic technique also allowed visualization of splitting and fusion of intrafusal muscle fibers. The findings are discussed in view of their possible functional implications.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Female
  • Microscopy, Electron, Scanning
  • Motor Endplate / ultrastructure
  • Muscle Denervation
  • Muscle Spindles / physiology
  • Muscle Spindles / ultrastructure*
  • Muscles / innervation
  • Muscles / ultrastructure*
  • Nerve Regeneration / physiology*
  • Rats
  • Sciatic Nerve / physiology