Capillary supply in relation to myosin heavy chain fibre composition of human intrinsic tongue muscles.Cells Tissues Organs. 2010; 192(5):303-13.CT
The capillary supply and myosin heavy chain (MyHC) composition of three different intrinsic tongue muscles was analysed in the anterior and posterior regions of the human tongue with biochemical and immunohistochemical techniques. Mean capillary density for the whole tongue was 796 ± 82 cap/mm², without regional differences. The overall number of capillaries around each fibre (CAF) was higher in the posterior than in the anterior region (2.5 vs. 2.1, p = 0.009). However, correcting for regional differences in fibre size, CAF per fibre area was higher in the anterior region (4.3 vs. 3.0, p < 0.001). Muscle fibres containing fast MyHCs predominated in the anterior region (78.7%), consisting of MyHCIIa (58.5%), MyHCIIx (1.0%), MyHCIIa+MyHCIIx (11.3%) and MyHCI+MyHCIIa (7.9%). Fibres containing slow MyHC predominated in the posterior region (65.2%), consisting of MyHCI (45.5%) and MyHCI+MyHCIIa (19.7%). A minor fibre population (<2%) contained unusual MyHC isoforms, namely MyHC foetal, MyHC slow-tonic, MyHC α-cardiac or MyHC embryonic. The microvascularization of the human tongue was twice as high as in human limb muscles. Regional similarities in capillary supply, but differences in fibre phenotype composition, suggest that human tongue muscle fibres are fatigue resistant independently of MyHC content. High frequency of hybrid fibres, that is fibres co-expressing two or more MyHC isoforms, indicates a wider spectrum of fibre contractile properties than in limb muscles. In conclusion, human intrinsic tongue muscles showed internal specialization in distribution of MyHC isoforms and capillary supply, but not in the expression of unusual MyHCs.