Innervation of muscle receptors in the cross‐reinnervated soleus muscle of the cat

M. C. Ip, A. R. Luff, U. Proske

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It has recently been reported (Gregory et al., J. Physiol., 331:367–383, 1982) that cutting a muscle nerve and letting it grow back into the muscle or cross‐uniting the muscle with a foreign nerve results in major disruption of the normal response patterns of muscle spindles and tendon organs. Here we report observations on the structure of muscle receptors in cross‐reinnervated and self‐reinnervated soleus muscles in an attempt to detect abnormalities that might account for their disturbed function. Eight soleus muscles were reinnervated with the extensor digitorum longus nerve for periods up to 449 days and two were self‐reinnervated. Following the physiological investigation, the muscle was fixed and stained according to the method of Barker and Ip (J. Physiol., 69:73P‐74P, 1963). Spindles and tendon organs were teased from the muscle and photographed. In one cross‐reinnervated muscle an attempt was made to isolate all receptors. About two‐thirds of the normal number of spindles and tendon organs were found. Three categories of receptor were identified: normal, abnormal, and those having no visible nerve endings. There appeared to be little difference in degree of abnormality of receptors in self‐ and cross‐reinnervated muscles. Of the 180 spindles, 3% were normal, 43% had no visible endings, and 54% had abnormal endings. Of 80 tendon organs, 38% were normally innervated, 33% were without visible innervation, and 29% had abnormal endings. We conclude that following long‐term cross‐reinnervation and self‐reinnervation of soleus there is extensive disruption of the normal innervation pattern of both spindles and tendon organs which could account for their functional abnormalities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)212-218
Number of pages7
JournalThe Anatomical Record
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1988

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