Severely atrophic human muscle fibers with nuclear misplacement survive many years of permanent denervation

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Ugo Carraro *
Helmut Kern
(*) Corresponding Author:
Ugo Carraro |


Likewise in rodents, after complete spinal cord injury (SCI) the lower motor neuron (LMN) denervated human muscle fibers lose completely the myofibrillar apparatus and the coil distribution of myonuclei that are relocated in groups (nuclear clumps) in the center of severely atrophic muscle fibers. Up to two years of LMN denervation the muscle fibers with nuclear clumps are very seldom, but in this cohort of patients the severely atrophic muscle fibers are frequent in muscle biopsies harvested three to six years after SCI. Indeed, the percentage increased to 27 ± 9% (p< 0.001), and then abruptly decreased from the 6th year onward, when fibrosis takes over to neurogenic muscle atrophy. Immunohistochemical analyses shown that nuclear misplacements occurred in both fast and slow muscle fibers. In conclusion, human muscle fibers survive permanent denervation much longer than generally accepted and relocation of nuclei is a general behavior in long term denervated muscle fibers.

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