Acta Vet. Brno 2011, 80: 119-124

The effects of simulated microgravity on skeletal muscle of Japanese quail: transmission electron microscopic study

Katarína Holovská, jr.1, Viera Almášiová1, Viera Cigánková1, Peter Škrobánek2

1University of Veterinary Medicine and Pharmacy, Košice, Slovak Republic
2Institute of Animal Biochemistry and Genetics, Slovak Academy of Sciences, Ivanka pri Dunaji, Slovak Republic

The aim of the present study was to investigate the effects of simulated microgravity (hypodynamia) on the structure of the skeletal muscle (m. gastrocnemius) in developing Japanese quail by transmission electron microscopy. Samples of muscle tissues from experimental (n = 28) and control (n = 28) birds were collected at day 7, 14, 28, 42 and 56 of age. The structure of m. gastrocnenmius was changed depending on hypodynamia length. The first extensive structural changes were found on day 14 of age. The mitochondria were enlarged and the spaces between the myofibrils were slightly extended compared to control. The sarcomeres were irregular and lipid droplets occurred in the sarcoplasm. Further developmental changes occurred on day 28 of age. Mitochondria fused into the giant mitochondria which frequently exceeded the length of one sarcomere. Moreover, at 42 days of age, beside the above mentioned changes, sarcoplasmic reticulum was dilated and the number of mitochondrial cristae was reduced. However, the structure of m. gastrocnemius on day 56 was less damaged compared to the damage observed on day 42 of age. Presented results indicate that the continuous stay of male Japanese quail under simulated microgravity has a negative impact on the structure of m. gastrocnemius, but also the ability of muscle tissue to cope with these specific conditions.


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