Distribution patterns of muscle fibre types in major muscles of the bull (Bos taurus)

Anat Embryol (Berl). 1991;184(5):441-50. doi: 10.1007/BF01236050.


The study describes the variations in distribution and cross-sectional area (fibre size) of three muscle fibre types (I, IIA, IIB) in 34 of the largest muscles of the bull (Bos taurus). The animals had been kept strictly unexercised for one year before slaughter. Representative sampling was done at 15 positions within each muscle, and from 2700 to 4500 fibres were analysed in each muscle. Different intermuscular patterns are described. The overall volume fraction (%) of type I fibres was about 10% higher in the forepart muscles than in the hindpart muscles (41% and 31%, respectively), while the mean content of type IIB fibres was similar. Type I fibres were particularly abundant in antigravity muscles. Of these, the hindlimb muscles contained 50% more type I fibres (by weight) than those of the forelimb. Typical antigravity antagonists contained very few type I fibres. In the thigh cross-section the proportion of type I fibres was highest in the anterior and medial parts, while the IIB fibres tended to be concentrated in the superficial and posterior parts. Intramuscular patterns were revealed, with type I fibres becoming gradually more abundant from superficial to deep regions, while IIB fibres had an opposite distribution. This was particularly evident in the thigh proper and in the scapular region. Within each fasciculus of all the muscles, the muscle fibre types formed a general spatial pattern. Type I fibres in the muscles of the forepart were on average about 15% larger than those of the muscles in the hindpart. The IIB fibres were on average about 10% larger in the hindpart than in the forepart muscles. A covariation between the proportion of type I and IIB fibres and their cross-sectional area was indicated.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenosine Triphosphatases / analysis
  • Animals
  • Cattle
  • Male
  • Muscles / chemistry
  • Muscles / cytology*
  • Myosins / analysis
  • NAD
  • Oxidoreductases / analysis
  • Tetrazolium Salts


  • Tetrazolium Salts
  • 4-anisyltetrazolium blue
  • NAD
  • Oxidoreductases
  • Adenosine Triphosphatases
  • Myosins