The studies describe alterations after hypophysectomy in the proportion of the type-1 and type-2 fibres in rat skeletal muscles, and the effects of replacement treatment with pituitary human (h) GH.
Cytochemical analysis of myosin ATPase, succinate dehydrogenase and lactate dehydrogenase activities in sections of rat hind limb muscles were used as markers of fibre type and revealed that hypophysectomy reduced the proportion of type-1 fibres by 50% in soleus and in extensor digitorum longus muscles. This reduction in the proportion of type-1 fibres was accompanied by the appearance of transitional fibres (type 2C/1B).
Following seven daily injections of hGH (60 mIU/day) to hypophysectomized rats, the proportion of type-1 fibres in both soleus and in extensor digitorum longus was increased with a concomitant reduction in the number of transitional fibres. After 11 days of treatment, all these transitional fibres had reverted back to type-1 fibres. Only hGH was observed to elicit this effect; injections of other pituitary hormones had no effect on the proportions of these transitional fibres.
These alterations in fibre type occurred more rapidly than the changes reported after prolonged electrical stimulation of muscle or following extended exercise.
These findings suggest that hypophysectomy and GH injection can result in a rapid alteration in the fibre composition of skeletal muscle, which may have important implications in terms of the resistance to fatigue and speed of contraction of the muscle.