Muscle damage and repair in voluntarily running mice: strain and muscle differences

Cell Tissue Res. 1987 Sep;249(3):509-21. doi: 10.1007/BF00217322.


Soleus, extensor digitorum longus and tibialis anterior muscles of mice voluntarily running in wheels for periods of 5 to 120 days were studied in spaced serial and serial cross-sections. Shortly after the onset of running and during the next 2 weeks, degeneration, necrosis, phagocytosis and regeneration of muscle fibers, satellite cell proliferation and cellular infiltration were found in soleus muscles of mice from all strains investigated (CBA/J, NMRI, C57bl, NIH, SWS and Balb/c). Tibialis anterior but not extensor digitorum longus muscles were also damaged. Predominantly high-oxidative fibers were affected (both slow-oxidative and fast oxidative glycolytic in soleus, fast-oxidative glycolytic in tibialis anterior). Denervated soleus muscles that had been passively stretched during running were not damaged. Evidence was found that, during the early period of running, split fibers form by myogenesis within (regeneration) or outside (satellite cell proliferation) necrotic muscle fiber segments. Split fibers persisted in solei of long-term (2 to 3 months) exercised CBA/J but not NMRI mice. In 6 out of 20 solei of CBA/J runners exercised for 2 months or longer, fiber-type grouping was observed in the areas where extensive damage usually occurred in the early periods. The results show that different muscles are damaged and repaired to varying degrees and that marked interstrain and inter-individual differences are present. It appears that acute muscle injury occurring upon onset of voluntary running is a usual event in the adaptation of muscles to altered use.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Female
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Inbred CBA
  • Mice, Inbred Strains
  • Muscle Denervation
  • Muscles / enzymology
  • Muscles / pathology
  • Muscles / physiology*
  • Physical Exertion*
  • Regeneration
  • Running
  • Species Specificity