The development of the pattern of innervation in chicken hindlimb muscles: evidence for specification of nerve-muscle connections

Dev Biol. 1983 May;97(1):229-38. doi: 10.1016/0012-1606(83)90080-5.


The pattern of innervation in 13 chicken hindlimb muscles was studied at various stages of development in order to examine the mechanisms which regulate its formation. The pattern of innervation was visualized by examining the distribution of fiber types within each muscle. It was found that the fiber type which a myotube acquired was influenced by both its time of formation and its position within a muscle. The earliest generation of myotubes (primary) had a marked tendency to become type I fibers, whereas, in contrast, the later generation of myotubes (secondary) tended to differentiate into type II fibers. There were regions of muscle, however, in which primary myotubes differentiated into type II fibers and other regions in which secondary myotubes acquired type I characteristics. During the development of some muscles the pattern of fiber types changed as a result of either a selective loss of type I fibers or, in other cases, a rearrangement of some of the initial neuromuscular contacts. These observations are consistent with the pattern of innervation of a muscle being established as a result of differential projection patterns of fast and slow motoneurons and the existence of some type of chemoaffinity where particular myotubes are preferentially innervated by particular motoneurons.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adenosine Triphosphatases / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Chick Embryo
  • Chickens
  • Hindlimb / embryology*
  • Muscles / embryology*
  • Muscles / innervation
  • Neuromuscular Junction / embryology*
  • Staining and Labeling
  • Time Factors


  • Adenosine Triphosphatases