Development of Contractile and Energetic Capacity in Anuran Hindlimb Muscle during Metamorphosis

Department of Life Science, College of Liberal Arts and Science, Yonsei University, 234 Maeji-Ri, Heungup-Myon, Wonju, Gangwon-Do 222-710, Republic of Korea.
Physiological and Biochemical Zoology (Impact Factor: 2.4). 07/2003; 76(4):533-43. DOI: 10.1086/376422
Source: PubMed


Anuran larvae undergo water-to-land transition during late metamorphosis. We investigated the development of the iliofibularis muscle in bullfrog tadpoles (Rana catesbeiana) between Gosner's stage 37 and stage 46 (the last stage). The tadpoles began staying in shallow water at least as early as stage 37, kicking from stage 39, active hindlimb swimming from stage 41, and emerging onto shore from stage 42. For control tadpoles kept in water throughout metamorphosis, muscle mass and length increased two- to threefold between stages 37 and 46, with rapid increases at stage 40. Large, steady increases were found in femur mass, tetanic tension, contraction rate, and power between stages 37 and 46. Concentrations of ATP and creatine phosphate and rates of the phosphagen depletion and the activity of creatine kinase increased significantly, mainly after stage 43. Shortening velocity, tetanic rise time, and half-relaxation time varied little. Energy charge (the amount of metabolically available energy stored in the adenine nucleotide pool) remained unchanged until stage 43 but decreased at stage 46. Compared with the control, experimental tadpoles that were allowed access to both water and land exhibited 1.2- to 1.8-fold greater increases in femur mass, tetanic tension, power, phosphagen depletion rates, and creatine kinase activities at late metamorphic stages but no significant differences for other parameters measured. In sum, most hindlimb development proceeds on the basis of the increasingly active use of limbs for locomotion in water. The further increases in tension, mechanical power, and "chemical power" on emergence would be advantageous for terrestrial antigravity performance.

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