The deterioration of tibialis anterior (TA) and extensor digitorum longus (EDL) muscles in dystrophic mice (C 57 BL dy/dy) was compared. The effects of chronic electrical stimulation on various characteristic properties of these muscles were also studied. The results indicate that EDL muscles are less affected by the disease than TA. This "selectivity" is difficult to explain since both muscles have similar fibre type composition. TA and EDL muscles that were stimulated for 10-28 days developed greater tetanic tensions than the contralateral muscles, but this effect was apparent only when the muscles were severely affected by the disease, that is the contralateral TA or EDL muscles developed less than 50% of the tension produced by muscles from normal animals. In all EDL muscles, stimulation increased the fatigue resistance. The time course of contraction and relaxation of dystrophic muscles is usually slower than that of normal muscles. The stimulation reduced this slowing effect, so that the stimulated muscles became similar to homologous muscles from normal littermates.
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