Morphological correlates of physiological responses in partially denervated mouse muscle during aging

Mohamed A. Fahim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


To evaluate the effect of partial denervation on age changes, morphological and physiological parameters were studied in young versus old extensor digitorum longus (EDL) muscles. The aims of this study were to elucidate synaptic maintenance in general and specifically to assess the adaptability of motor neurons from young and old animals to an enlarged field of innervation. Partial denervation was carried out in two groups of 30-40 g mice, aged within 6 or 24 months, by sectioning of the nerve supplying EDL muscle under methoxyfluorane anaesthesia. Sham operations were carried out on additional animals which served as controls. Five weeks' post-surgery, the safety factor of synaptic transmission was estimated by dividing the nerve-evoked twitch tension generated in 1 mM Ca2+ Krebs by that generated in 2.5 mM Ca2+ Krebs. Low Ca2+ Krebs caused a more pronounced decline in twitch tension in young control EDL muscles than old control. After partial denervation, young EDL twitch tensions were not significantly different while old were 20% of those in normal Krebs. Zinc Iodide Osmium (ZIO) stained nerve terminal parameters were significantly increased with aging. After partial denervation, nerve terminal areas were 46 and 39% larger in young and old mice, respectively, compared to their corresponding controls. Present data suggest that motor neurons of old mice are unable to develop and maintain an enlarged field of innervation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)303-310
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Developmental Neuroscience
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1993
Externally publishedYes


  • aging
  • morphology
  • neuromuscular junction
  • partial denervation
  • physiology
  • synaptic plasticity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Developmental Biology


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