South African Medical Journal

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Alterations in the morphology of skeletal myofibres after 90 minutes of ischaemia and '- 3 hours of reperfusion

M.A. Gregory, M. Mars


Morphometric, light and electron microscopic methods were employed to determine whether skeletal myofibres were damaged by 90 minutes of tourniquet-mediated ischaemia. Open biceps muscle biopsies were obtained before 90 minutes of upper limb tourniquet ischaemia in 5 Chacma baboons. Further biopsies were obtained just before tourniquet release in 2 animals and after 3 hours' reperfusion in the remaining 3 animals. Other than a slight reduction in myofibre diameter and the anaerobic depletion of intermyofibrillar glycogen, no pathological changes were noted in skeletal myofibres after ischaemia. However, after reperfusion there was myofibre enlargement, intermyofibrillar oedema, internalisation of nuclei, myofibrillar and mitochondrial disorganisation and dissolution, and Z-band streaming. These results show that reperfusion injury affects skeletal myofibres after 90 minutes of tourniquet-mediated ischaemia.

AJOL African Journals Online