New method drives research into fast and slow muscle fiber types forward

The article, published in the well-respected journal The Journal of Physiology, presents a new method for quickly and easily determining the fiber type of individual muscle fibers. More complex analyses can be carried out on fast and slow muscle fibers separately.

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The method simplifies the analyses

Research in muscle physiology has long been limited as there has yet to be a simple way to determine whether a muscle fiber belongs to the fast or slow type. Advanced comparisons between the different fiber types have primarily been performed on animals, which does not always reflect the muscle in humans. The method, named THRIFTY, simplifies already established analyses and enables entirely new analyses, which will drive the development of the research field forward.

Belongs to a slow or fast muscle fiber

The THRIFTY method is based on small, short segments of the muscle fibers separated from the original fibers and then mounted on a specially adapted glass slide. The glass slide is then stained with established antibody technology against specific proteins in the structure of the fibers. By illuminating the segment with fluorescent light in a microscope, one can quickly determine whether the element belongs to a slow or fast muscle fiber. The method is so time-efficient that it allows fiber-type determination of living muscle fibers.

– The study is of great value to us as we have several new projects that build on this methodology. We are convinced that the method will contribute to many further exciting research questions being answered in the future, says responsible researcher William Apró.

It is researcher William Apró, PhD, who, with doctoral students Oscar Horwath and Sebastian Edman, has recently published the new study in The Journal of Physiology.

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Last modified:23 Dec 2022