Comparison of capillary architecture between slow and fast muscles in rats using a confocal laser scanning microscope

Shinichiro Murakami, Hidemi Fujinoc, Isao Takeda, Ryusuke Momota, Kanae Kumagishi, Aiji Ohtsuka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


The skeletal muscle is classified into 2 types, slow oxidative or fast glycolytic muscle. For further characterization, we investigated the capillary architecture in slow and fast muscles. The rat soleus and extensor digitorum longus (EDL) muscles were used as representatives of slow and fast muscles, respectively. To investigate capillary density, sections of both types of muscle were stained with alkaline phosphatase; the soleus muscle showed more intense reactivity, indicating that it had a denser capillary structure than the EDL muscle. We then injected fluorescent contrast medium into samples of both muscle types for light and confocal-laser microscopic evaluation. The capillary density and capillary-to-fiber ratio were significantly higher, and the course of the capillaries was more tortuous, in the soleus muscle than in the EDL muscle. Capillary coursed more tortuously in the soleus than in the EDL muscle. Succinate dehydrogenase (SDH) activity, an indicator of mitochondrial oxidative capacity, and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) expression were also significantly higher in the soleus muscle. Thus, we conclude that slow oxidative muscle possess a rich capillary structure to provide demanded oxygen, and VEGF might be involved in the formation and/or maintenance of this highly capillarized architecture.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11-18
Number of pages8
JournalActa medica Okayama
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • Capillaly
  • Skeletal muscle
  • Succinate dehydrogenase activity
  • Vascular endothelial growth factor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry,Genetics and Molecular Biology


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