muscle fibremedical dictionary

<pathology> Component of a skeletal muscle comprising a single syncytial cell that contains myofibrils.

Any of the cells of skeletal or cardiac muscle tissue. Skeletal muscle fibres are cylindrical multinucleate cells containing contracting myofibrils, across which run transverse striations, enclosed in a sarcolemma. Cardiac muscle fibres contain one or sometimes two nuclei and myofibrils and are separated from one another by an intercalated disk; although striated, cardiac fibres branch to form an interlacing network.

2. fast-twitch muscles. Skeletal muscle fibres having high myofibrillar atpase activity, high glycolytic enzyme activities, and an intermediate glycogen content which produce a fast twitch. There are two types. Fast fatigable fibres, also called white fibres, have a low myoglobin content, and a small mitochondrial content, and fatigue rapidly due to their limited glycogen content and low capacity for oxidative metabolism. Fast fatigue-resistant fibres, also called red fibres, have a large mitochondrial content and a high myoglobin content, related to their resistance to fatigue.

3. slow-twitch muscles. Skeletal muscle fibres having low myofibrillar atpase activity, low glycogen content, and high myoglobin content, high mitochondrial oxidative enzyme activities, and an intermediate mitochondrial content which produce a slow twitch and are fatigue-resistant.

American spelling: muscle fiber

(12 Dec 1998)

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