The Analyst

Deep UV excited muscle cell autofluorescence varies with the fibre type.

PMID 25912941


The rat skeletal muscle consists of four pure types of muscle cells called type I, type IIA, type IIX and type IIB, and their hybrids in different proportions. They differ in their contraction speeds and metabolic pathways. The intracellular composition is adapted to the fibre function and therefore to fibre types. Given that small differences in composition are likely to alter the optical properties of the cells, we studied the impact of the cell type on the fluorescence response following excitation in the deep UV region. Rat soleus and extensor digitorum longus (EDL) muscle fibres, previously identified based on their cell types by immunohistofluorescence analysis, were analyzed by synchrotron fluorescence microspectroscopy on stain-free serial muscle cross-sections. Muscle fibres excited at 275 nm showed differences in the fluorescence emission intensity among fibre types at 302, 325, 346 and 410 nm. The 410/325 ratio decreased significantly with contractile and metabolic features in EDL muscle, in the order of I > IIA > IIX > IIB fibres (p < 0.01). Compared to type I fibres, the 346/302 ratio of IIA fibres decreased significantly in both EDL and soleus muscles (p < 0.01). This study highlights the usefulness of autofluorescence spectral signals to characterize histological cross-sections of muscle fibres with no staining chemicals.