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8th Combined Meeting Of Orthopaedic Research Societies (CORS)


Summary Statement

Paraspinal muscle contain higher proportion of slow-twich fibers. The fixation of the rat tail induced transition of muscle fiber types in the paravertebral muscles characterised by the decrease in the proportion of the slow type myosin heavy chain.


Lumbar degenerative kyphosis often accompanies back pain, easy fatigability, fatty degeneration and atrophy of back muscles. There are two types of skeletal muscle fibers according to oxidative activities: slow-twich (Type 1) and fast-twitch (Type 2) fibers. Type 2 fibers were subdivided into three types: Type 2A, 2B and 2D/X. Each fiber type primarily expresses a specific isoform of myosin heavy chain (MHC). It has been known that back muscles contain higher proportion of MHC type 1. However, the impact of kyphosis on the proportion of fiber types in the paravertebral muscles has not been fully understood. The aim of this study is to analyze the transition of muscle fiber types after kyophotic or straight fixation using a rat tail model.


A rat tail was fixed in straight or kyphotic position (straight or kyphosis group) by a custom-made external fixator and wires. A group of animals which underwent only pierced wounds in their tails served as control. The gene expression profiles of isoforms of MHCs in dorsal coccygeal muscles were analyzed by quantitative RT-PCR. The fiber types of muscles were assessed using SDS-PAGE. Band densities of silver-stained gel were quantified.


At first, the gene expression profiles of MHCs and protein expression in the dorsal coccygeal muscles were compared with tibilis anterior and gastrocunemius muscles. Higher proportion of MHC type 1 gene and protein expression were confirmed in the dorsal coccygeal muscles than tibialis anterior and gastrocuneimus muscles. MHC type 2B protein expression was not detected in dorsal coccygeal muscles. Next, coccygeal muscles after straight or kyphotic fixation were analyzed and compared with control. Gene expression of MHC type 1 was decreased at 7 and 28 days after fixation in straight and kyphosis group. The significant difference was seen at 28 days in kyphosis group. The band densities of MHC protein type 1 and 2A plus 2D/X were decreased in both straight and kyophosis groups at 28 days after fixation while sample volume was adjusted by wet wight of dissected coccygeal muscles. The mean proportion of MHC protein type 1 separated by SDS-PAGE were decreased in straight and kyphosis group. The difference was significant in straight group.


Our results demonstrated that the fixation of the rat tail induced transition of muscle fiber types in the paravertebral muscles characterized by the decrease in the proportion of the MHC type 1. Back muscles are required to contract continuously to keep posture. Slow-twitch fibers in back muscle contribute for continuous contraction. Slow-twitch fibers utilise energy efficiently by oxidative process while fast-twitch fibers mainly consume glucose through glycolysis producing lactate acid. Not only decreased amount of MHC but also decreased proportion of MHC type 1 might be the reason of easy fatigability in lumbar degenerative kyphosis. The limitations of this study is the difference between human paravertebral and rat coccygeal muscles and short duration of observation.