Scanning Electron Microscopy


The authors review the contribution of microcorrosion cast studies towards clarifying the structure of skeletal muscle microcirculation.

Former studies performed on naturally contracted muscles show the presence of a primary and a secondary arterial network and a capillary network. At the level of the capillary network pericyte imprints are present. Muscles characterized by different types of metabolism show different features of the capillary pattern. Other authors have affirmed that the extended muscle is characterized by long and straight capillaries, while the contracted one features clusters of vessels all around a muscle fiber.

The authors have made the present observations in order to determine how the capillary pattern of muscles with different metabolism is modified by extension and shortening of the muscle belly.

The capillary pattern observed appears very similar to that observed in former studies. The differences between the oxidative and the glycolytic muscle are evident in every condition of the muscle belly.

These data confirm the theory that there is a permanent endogenous difference in microcirculation between oxidative and glycolytic muscle, determined by muscle fiber metabolism.

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