The lateral rectus (LR) and medial rectus (MR) extraocular muscles (EOMs) have largely nonoverlapping superior and inferior innervation territories, suggesting functional compartmental specialization. We used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in humans to investigate differential compartmental activity in the rectus EOMs during head tilt, which evokes ocular counter-rolling, a torsional vestibulo-ocular reflex (VOR).
MRI in quasi-coronal planes was analyzed during target-controlled central gaze in 90° right and left head tilts in 12 normal adults. Cross sections and posterior partial volumes of the transverse portions of the four rectus EOMs were compared in contiguous image planes 2 mm thick spanning the orbit from origins to globe equator, and used as indicators of contractility.
Horizontal rectus EOMs had significantly greater posterior volumes and maximum cross sections in their inferior compartments (P < 10−8). In orbit tilt up (extorted) compared with orbit tilt down (intorted) head tilts, contractile changes in LR maximum cross section (P < 0.0001) and posterior partial volume (P < 0.05) were significantly greater in the inferior but not in the superior compartment. These changes were not explainable by horizontal or vertical eye position changes. A weaker compartmental effect was suggested for MR. The vertical rectus EOMs did not exhibit significant compartmental contractile changes during head tilt. Mechanical modeling suggests that differential LR contraction may contribute to physiological cyclovertical effects.
Selective activation of the two LR, and possibly MR, compartments correlates with newly recognized segregation of intramuscular innervation into distinct compartments, and probably contributes to noncommutative torsion during the VOR.
Magnetic resonance imaging of extraocular muscles during ocular counter-rolling demonstrates selective activation of the lateral rectus inferior but not superior compartment. This is novel functional evidence that differential rectus compartmental activation contributes to a vestibulo-ocular reflex.
A common treatment for motility disorders of the extraocular muscles (EOMs) is a resection procedure in which there is surgical shortening of the muscle. This procedure results in rotation of the globe toward the resected muscle, increased resting tension across the agonist–antagonist pair, and stretching of the elastic components of the muscles. In the rabbit, due to orbital constraints and limited rotation, resection results in more significant stretch of the surgically treated muscle than the antagonist. This surgical preparation allows for the examination of the effects of surgical shortening of one rectus muscle and passive stretch of its ipsilateral antagonist.
The insertional 6 mm of the superior rectus muscles of adult rabbits were resected and reattached to the original insertion site. After 7 and 14 days, the animals were injected intraperitoneally with bromodeoxyuridine (BrdU) every 2 hours for 12 hours, followed by a 24-hour BrdU-free period. All superior and inferior rectus muscles from both globes were examined for BrdU incorporation, MyoD expression, neonatal and developmental myosin heavy chain (MyHC) isoform expression, and myofiber cross-sectional area alterations.
In the resected muscle and in the passively stretched antagonist muscle, there was a dramatic increase in the number of myofibers positive for neonatal MyHC and in the number of BrdU- and MyoD-positive satellite cells. The addition of BrdU-positive myonuclei increased from 1 per 1000 myofibers in cross sections of control muscles to 2 to 3 per 100 myofibers in the resected muscles. Single myofiber reconstructions showed that multiple BrdU-positive myonuclei were added to individual myofibers. Addition of new myonuclei occurred in random locations along the myofiber length of single fibers. There was no correlation between myofibers with BrdU-positive myonuclei and neonatal MyHC isoform expression.
Both active and passive stretch of the rectus muscles produced by strabismus surgery dramatically upregulated the processes of satellite cell activation, integration of new myonuclei into existing myofibers, and concomitant up-regulation of immature myosin heavy chain isoforms. Understanding the effects of strabismus surgery on muscle cell biological reactions and myofiber remodeling may suggest new approaches for improving surgical outcomes.
Until now, there has been no comprehensive mathematical model of the nonlinear viscoelastic stress-strain behavior of extraocular muscles (EOMs). The present study describes, with the use of a quasilinear viscoelastic (QLV) model, the nonlinear, history-dependent viscoelastic properties and elastic stress-strain relationship of EOMs.
Six oculorotary EOMs were obtained fresh from a local abattoir. Longitudinally oriented specimens were taken from different regions of the EOMs and subjected to uniaxial tensile, relaxation, and cyclic loading testing with the use of an automated load cell under temperature and humidity control. Twelve samples were subjected to uniaxial tensile loading with 1.7%/s strain rate until failure. Sixteen specimens were subjected to relaxation studies over 1500 seconds. Cyclic loading was performed to validate predictions of the QLV model characterized from uniaxial tensile loading and relaxation data.
Uniform and highly repeatable stress-strain behavior was observed for 12 specimens extracted from various regions of all EOMs. Results from 16 different relaxation trials illustrated that most stress relaxation occurred during the first 30 to 60 seconds for 30% extension. Elastic and reduced relaxation functions were fit to the data, from which a QLV model was assembled and compared with cyclic loading data. Predictions of the QLV model agreed with observed peak cyclic loading stress values to within 8% for all specimens and conditions.
Close agreement between the QLV model and the relaxation and cyclic loading data validates model quantification of EOM mechanical properties and will permit the development of accurate overall models of mechanics of ocular motility and strabismus.
It is generally assumed that proprioceptive feedback plays a crucial role in limb posture and movement. However, the role of afferent signals from extraocular muscles (EOM) in the control of eye movement has been a matter of continuous debate. These muscles have atypical sensory receptors in several species and it has been proposed that they are not supported by stretch reXexes. We recorded electromyographic activity of EOM during passive rotations of the eye in sedated rats and squirrel monkeys and observed typical stretch reXexes in these muscles. Results suggest that there is a similarity in the reXexive control of limb and eye movement, despite substantial differences in their biomechanics and sensory receptors. Like in some limb skeletal muscles, the stretch reflex in EOM in the investigated species might be mediated by other length-sensitive receptors, rather than muscle spindles.
Motor control; Sensorimotor integration; Eye movement; Proprioception; Electromyogram
We have recently shown that in monkey passive extraocular muscles the force induced by a stretch does not depend on the entire length history, but to a great extent is only a function of the last elongation applied. This led us to conclude that Fung's quasi-linear viscoelastic (QLV) model, and more general nonlinear models based on a single convolution integral, cannot faithfully mimic passive eye muscles. Here we present additional data about the mechanical properties of passive eye muscles in deeply anesthetized monkeys. We show that, in addition to the aforementioned failures, previous models also grossly overestimate the force exerted by passive eye muscles during smooth elongations similar to those experienced during normal eye movements. Importantly, we also show that the force exerted by a muscle following an elongation is largely independent of the elongation itself, and it is mostly determined by the final muscle length. These additional findings conclusively rule out the use of classical viscoelastic models to mimic the mechanical properties of passive eye muscles. We describe here a new model that extends previous ones using principles derived from research on thixotropic materials. This model is able to account reasonably well for our data, and could thus be incorporated into models of the eye plant.
We explored multiple quantitative measures of horizontal rectus extraocular muscle (EOM) morphology to determine the magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) measure best correlating with duction and thus contractility.
Surface coil coronal MRI was obtained in target-controlled central gaze and multiple positions of adduction and abduction in 26 orbits of 15 normal volunteers. Duction angles were determined by position changes of the globe-optic nerve junction. Cross-sectional areas, partial volumes, and location of peak cross-sections of the horizontal rectus EOMs were computed in contiguous image planes 2-mm thick spanning the EOM origins to the globe equator.
All measures correlated significantly with duction angle (P < 0.0001). The best measures obtainable in single image planes were the maximum change in the cross-sectional area between equivalent image planes, with coefficients of determination R2 = 0.92 for medial rectus (MR) and 0.91 for lateral rectus (LR), and percentage change in maximum cross-section with R2 = 0.79 for MR and 0.78 for LR. The best partial volume measure of contractility was the change in partial volumes in four contiguous posterior planes (R2 = 0.86 MR and for 0.89 LR), particularly when combined with the corresponding change in partial volume for the antagonist EOM (R2 = 0.95 for MR and LR).
EOM morphologic changes are highly correlated with degrees of duction and thus contractility. Both changes in single-plane maximum cross-sectional areas and posterior partial volumes provide accurate, quantitative measures of EOM contractility.
Magnetic resonance morphometry of horizontal rectus extraocular muscles is highly correlated with duction angle in normal subjects, suggesting that local volume and cross-section muscle features reflect contractile state.
Dynamic simulation of human eye movements, with realistic physical models of extraocular muscles (EOMs), may greatly advance our understanding of the complexities of the oculomotor system and aid in treatment of visuomotor disorders. In this paper we describe the first three dimensional (3D) biomechanical model which can simulate the dynamics of ocular motility at interactive rates. We represent EOMs using “strands”, which are physical primitives that can model an EOM's complex nonlinear anatomical and physiological properties. Contact between the EOMs, the globe, and orbital structures can be explicitly modeled.
Several studies were performed to assess the validity and utility of the model. EOM deformation during smooth pursuit was simulated and compared with published experimental data; the model reproduces qualitative features of the observed non-uniformity. The model is able to reproduce realistic saccadic trajectories when the lateral rectus muscle was driven by published measurements of abducens neuron discharge. Finally, acute superior oblique palsy, a pathological condition, was simulated to further evaluate the system behavior; the predicted deviation patterns agree qualitatively with experimental observations. This example also demonstrates potential clinical applications of such a model.
physically-based modeling; extraocular muscle; interactive simulation; soft tissue motion; eye movement; biomechanics
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) was used to determine the effect of recessions and resections on horizontal extraocular muscle (EOM) paths and globe position.
Four adults with horizontal strabismus underwent contrast-enhanced, surface-coil MRI in central, secondary, and tertiary gazes, before and after horizontal EOM recessions and/or resections. EOM paths were determined from 2-mm thickness, quasicoronal MRI by analysis of cross-sectional area centroids in a normalized, oculocentric coordinate system. Globe displacement was determined by measuring the apparent shift of the bony orbit in eccentric gaze.
In all subjects, the anteroposterior positions of the horizontal rectus pulleys shifted by less than 2 mm after surgery, indistinguishable from zero within measurement precision. In three subjects who underwent medial rectus (MR) recession or resection, postoperative globe position was similar in central gaze, but globe translation during vertical gaze shift changed markedly. There was no effect on globe translation in the subject who underwent only lateral rectus (LR) resection.
Recessions and resections of horizontal EOMs have minimal effect on anteroposterior EOM pulley positions. Because the pulley does not shift appreciably despite large alterations in the EOM insertion, the proximity of a recessed EOM to its pulley would be expected to introduce torsional and vertical actions in tertiary gazes. Connective tissue dissection during MR surgery may destabilize the globe’s vertical translational stability within the orbit, potentially changing the effective pulling directions of the rectus EOMs in vertical gazes. These changes may mimic oblique muscle dysfunction. LR surgery may avoid globe destabilization.
To test the hypothesis that the extraocular muscles (EOMs) of patients with infantile nystagmus have muscular and innervational adaptations that may have a role in the involuntary oscillations of the eyes.
Specimens of EOMs from 10 patients with infantile nystagmus and postmortem specimens from 10 control subjects were prepared for histologic examination. The following variables were quantified: mean myofiber cross-sectional area, myofiber central nucleation, myelinated nerve density, nerve fiber density, and neuromuscular junction density.
In contrast to control EOMs, infantile nystagmus EOMs had significantly more centrally nucleated myofibers, consistent with cycles of degeneration and regeneration. The EOMs of patients with nystagmus also had a greater degree of heterogeneity in myofiber size than did those of controls, with no difference in mean myofiber cross-sectional area. Mean myelinated nerve density, nerve fiber density, and neuromuscular junction density were also significantly decreased in infantile nystagmus EOMs.
The EOMs of patients with infantile nystagmus displayed a distinct hypoinnervated phenotype. This represents the first quantification of changes in central nucleation and myofiber size heterogeneity, as well as decreased myelinated nerve, nerve fiber, and neuromuscular junction density. These results suggest that deficits in motor innervation are a potential basis for the primary loss of motor control.
Improved understanding of the etiology of nystagmus may direct future diagnostic and treatment strategies.
Many differences exist between extraocular muscles (EOM) and non-cranial skeletal muscles. One striking difference is the sparing of EOM in various muscular dystrophies compared to non-cranial skeletal muscles. EOM undergo continuous myonuclear remodeling in normal, uninjured adults, and distinct transcription factors are required for the early determination, development, and maintenance of EOM compared to limb skeletal muscle. Pitx2, a bicoid-like homeobox transcription factor, is required for the development of EOM and the maintenance of characteristic properties of the adult EOM phenotype, but is not required for the development of limb muscle. We hypothesize that these unique properties of EOM contribute to the constitutive differences between EOM and non-craniofacial skeletal muscles. Using flow cytometry, CD34+/Sca1−/CD45−/CD31− cells (EECD34 cells) were isolated from extraocular and limb skeletal muscle and in vitro, EOM EECD34 cells proliferated faster than limb muscle EECD34 cells. To further define these myogenic precursor cells from EOM and limb skeletal muscle, they were analyzed for their expression of Pitx2. Western blotting and immunohistochemical data demonstrated that EOM express higher levels of Pitx2 than limb muscle, and 80% of the EECD34 cells expressed Pitx2. siRNA knockdown of Pitx2 expression in EECD34 cells in vitro decreased proliferation rates and impaired the ability of EECD34 cells to fuse into multinucleated myotubes. High levels of Pitx2 were retained in dystrophic and aging mouse EOM and the EOM EECD34 cells compared to limb muscle. The differential expression of Pitx2 between EOM and limb skeletal muscle along with the functional changes in response to lower levels of Pitx2 expression in the myogenic precursor cells suggest a role for Pitx2 in the maintenance of constitutive differences between EOM and limb skeletal muscle that may contribute to the sparing of EOM in muscular dystrophies.
Fibroblasts derived from the extraocular muscle demonstrate distinct properties that differentiate them from fibroblasts of the hindlimb skeletal muscles. The results of this study indicate that extraocular muscles interact with fibroblasts in a fundamentally different manner and appear to benefit from both cell–cell contact and soluble trophic interactions.
Extraocular muscle (EOM) has a distinct skeletal muscle phenotype. The hypothesis for the study was that fibroblasts support the unique EOM phenotype and that perimysial fibroblasts derived from EOM have properties that distinguish them from fibroblasts derived from other skeletal muscle.
Perimysial fibroblasts from leg muscle (LM-Fibro) and EOM (EOM-Fibro) of mice were derived and maintained in culture. EOM- and LM-Fibro were assessed morphologically and for vimentin, smooth muscle actin, and Thy-1 immunoreactivity. DNA microarray analysis was performed on LM- and EOM-Fibro grown in conditions that support myoblast differentiation. To assess trophic interactions, co-cultures of myoblasts from established cell lines, CL-EOM and CL-LM with, EOM- or LM-Fibro were performed in direct contact and in a permeable filter support culture. The degree of myotube maturation was assessed by the percentage of myotubes with more than three myonuclei per myotube.
EOM- and LM-Fibro cells exhibited distinct morphologies. Both cell types proliferated as a monolayer and expressed vimentin. Fifty-five percent (SD 4.4%) of EOM-Fibro were Thy-1 positive compared with only 24% (SD 4.4%) of LM-Fibro. DNA microarray analysis demonstrated differential expression of structural, immune response, and metabolism-related genes between EOM- and LM-Fibro. Co-cultures demonstrated that mature myotube formation in EOM-derived cell lines was supported to a greater extent by EOM-Fibro than by LM-Fibro, compared with CL-EOM grown with LM-Fibro.
Fibroblasts from EOM demonstrate distinct properties that distinguish them from leg muscle–derived fibroblasts. The distinct properties of EOM-Fibro may support the unique EOM phenotype and contribute to their differential involvement in disease.
Binocular vision requires intricate control of eye movement to align overlapping visual fields for fusion in the visual cortex, and each eye is controlled by 6 extraocular muscles (EOMs). Disorders of EOMs are an important cause of symptomatic vision loss. Importantly, EOMs represent specialized skeletal muscles with distinct gene expression profile and susceptibility to neuromuscular disorders. We aim to investigate and describe the anatomy of adult zebrafish extraocular muscles (EOMs) to enable comparison with human EOM anatomy and facilitate the use of zebrafish as a model for EOM research. Using differential interference contrast (DIC), epifluorescence microscopy, and precise sectioning techniques, we evaluate the anatomy of zebrafish EOM origin, muscle course, and insertion on the eye. Immunofluorescence is used to identify components of tendons, basement membrane and neuromuscular junctions (NMJs), and to analyze myofiber characteristics. We find that adult zebrafish EOM insertions on the globe parallel the organization of human EOMs, including the close proximity of specific EOM insertions to one another. However, analysis of EOM origins reveals important differences between human and zebrafish, such as the common rostral origin of both oblique muscles and the caudal origin of the lateral rectus muscles. Thrombospondin 4 marks the EOM tendons in regions that are highly innervated, and laminin marks the basement membrane, enabling evaluation of myofiber size and distribution. The NMJs appear to include both en plaque and en grappe synapses, while NMJ density is much higher in EOMs than in somatic muscles. In conclusion, zebrafish and human EOM anatomy are generally homologous, supporting the use of zebrafish for studying EOM biology. However, anatomic differences exist, revealing divergent evolutionary pressures.
The EOMs are particularly adaptive to changes induced by recession and tenotomy surgery, responding with modulations in fiber remodeling and myosin expression and also with changes in antagonist and contralateral muscles. These results suggest the possibility that these processes are manipulated immediately after surgery to improve surgical success rates.
Surgical recession of an extraocular muscle (EOM) posterior to its original insertion is a common form of strabismus surgery, weakening the rotational force exerted by the muscle on the globe and improving eye alignment. The purpose of this study was to assess myosin heavy chain (MyHC) isoform expression and satellite cell activity as defined by Pax7 expression in recessed EOMs of adult rabbits compared with that in muscles tenotomized but not recessed and with that in normal control muscles.
The scleral insertion of the superior rectus muscle was detached and sutured either 7 mm posterior to its original insertion site (recession surgery) or at the same site (tenotomy). One day before euthanatization, the rabbits received bromodeoxyuridine (BrdU) injections. After 7 and 14 days, selected EOMs from both orbits were examined for changes in fast, slow, neonatal, and developmental MyHC isoform expression, Pax7 expression, and BrdU incorporation.
Recession and tenotomy surgery resulted in similar changes in the surgical EOMs. These included a decreased proportion of fast MyHC myofibers, an increased proportion of slow MyHC myofibers, and increased BrdU-positive satellite cells. Similar changes were seen in the non-operated contralateral superior rectus muscles. The ipsilateral inferior rectus showed reciprocal changes to the surgical superior rectus muscles.
The EOMs are extremely adaptive to changes induced by recession and tenotomy surgery, responding with modulations in fiber remodeling and myosin expression. These adaptive responses could be manipulated to improve surgical success rates.
Background. To examine factors contributing to extraocular muscle (EOM) volume enlargement in patients with Graves' hyperthyroidism. Methods. EOM volumes were measured with orbital magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in 39 patients with recently diagnosed Graves' disease, and compared to EOM volumes of 13 normal volunteers. Thyroid function tests, uptake on thyroid scintigraphy, anti-TSH-receptor antibody positivity and other parameters were then evaluated in patients with EOM enlargement. Results. 31/39 patients had one or more enlarged EOM, of whom only 2 patients had clinical EOM dysfunction. Compared to Graves' disease patients with normal EOM volumes, those with EOM enlargement had significantly higher mean serum TSH (0.020 ± 0.005 versus 0.007 ± 0.002 mIU/L; P value 0.012), free-T4 (52.9 ± 3.3 versus 41.2 ± 1.7 pmol/L; P value 0.003) and technetium uptake on thyroid scintigraphy (13.51 ± 1.7% versus 8.55 ± 1.6%; P value 0.045). There were no differences between the 2 groups in anti-TSH-receptor antibody positivity, the proportion of males, tobacco smokers, or those with active ophthalmopathy. Conclusions. Patients with recently diagnosed Graves' disease and EOM volume enlargement have higher serum TSH and more severe hyperthyroidism than patients with normal EOM volumes, with no difference in anti-TSH-receptor antibody positivity between the two groups.
Identify and explain morphologic changes of the extraocular muscles (EOMs) in anophthalmic patients.
Retrospective chart review of patients with congenital anophthalmia, using MRI and intraoperative findings to characterize EOM morphology. We then employ molecular biology techniques in zebrafish and chick embryos to determine the relationships among the developing eye, periocular neural crest, and EOMs.
In three human patients with bilateral congenital anophthalmia and preoperative orbital imaging, we observed a spectrum of EOM morphologies ranging from indiscernible muscle tissue to well-formed, organized EOMs. Timing of eye loss in zebrafish and chick embryos correlated with the morphology of EOM organization in the orbit (“eye socket”). In congenitally eyeless Rx3 zebrafish mutants, or following genetic ablation of the cranial neural crest cells, EOMs failed to organize, which was independent of other craniofacial muscle development.
Orbital development is dependent on interactions between the eye, neural crest, and developing EOMs. Timing of the ocular insult, in relation to neural crest migration and EOM development, is a key determinant of aberrant EOM organization. Additional research will be required to study patients with unilateral and syndromic anophthalmia, and assess for possible differences in clinical outcomes among patients with varied EOM morphology.
The presence and organization of EOMs in anophthalmic sockets may serve as a marker for the timing of genetic or teratogenic insults, improving genetic counseling, and assisting with surgical reconstruction and family counseling efforts.
This paper characterized bovine extraocular muscles (EOMs) using creep, which represents long-term stretching induced by a constant force. After preliminary optimization of testing conditions, 20 fresh EOM samples were subjected to four different loading rates of 1.67, 3.33, 8.33, and 16.67%/s, after which creep was observed for 1,500 s. A published quasilinear viscoelastic (QLV) relaxation function was transformed to a creep function that was compared with data. Repeatable creep was observed for each loading rate and was similar among all six anatomical EOMs. The mean creep coefficient after 1,500 seconds for a wide range of initial loading rates was at 1.37 ± 0.03 (standard deviation, SD). The creep function derived from the relaxation-based QLV model agreed with observed creep to within 2.7% following 16.67%/s ramp loading. Measured creep agrees closely with a derived QLV model of EOM relaxation, validating a previous QLV model for characterization of EOM biomechanics.
The Poisson ratio (PR) is a fundamental mechanical parameter that approximates the ratio of relative change in cross sectional area to tensile elongation. However, the PR of extraocular muscle (EOM) is almost never measured because of experimental constraints. The problem was overcome by determining changes in EOM dimensions using computed X-ray tomography (CT) at microscopic resolution during tensile elongation to determine transverse strain indicated by the change in cross-section. Fresh bovine EOM specimens were prepared. Specimens were clamped in a tensile fixture within a CT scanner (SkyScan, Belgium) with temperature and humidity control and stretched up to 35% of initial length. Sets of 500–800 contiguous CT images were obtained at 10-micron resolution before and after tensile loading. Digital 3D models were then built and discretized into 6–8-micron-thick elements. Changes in longitudinal thickness of each microscopic element were determined to calculate strain. Green's theorem was used to calculate areal strain in transverse directions orthogonal to the stretching direction. The mean PR from discretized 3D models for every microscopic element in 14 EOM specimens averaged 0.457 ± 0.004 (SD). The measured PR of bovine EOM is thus near the limit of incompressibility.
Since connective tissue pulleys implement Listing's law by systematically changing rectus extraocular muscle (EOM) pulling directions, non-Listing's law gaze-dependence of the vestibulo-ocular reflex is currently inexplicable. Differential activation of compartments within rectus EOMs may endow the ocular motor system with more behavioral diversity than previously supposed. Innervation to horizontal, but not vertical, rectus EOMs of mammals is segregated into superior and inferior compartments. Magnetic resonance imaging in normal subjects demonstrates contractile changes in the lateral rectus (LR) inferior, but not superior, compartment during ocular counter-rolling (OCR) induced by head tilt. In human orbits ipsilesional to unilateral superior oblique palsy, neither LR compartment exhibits contractile change during head tilt, although the inferior compartment contracts normally in contralesional orbits. This suggests that differential compartmental LR contraction assists normal OCR. Computational simulation suggests that differential compartmental action in horizontal rectus EOMs could achieve more force than required by vertical fusional vergence.
extraocular muscles; magnetic resonance imaging; motor nerve; pulleys; vestibulo-ocular reflex
Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is the most common childhood myopathy, characterized by muscle loss and cardiorespiratory failure. While the genetic basis of DMD is well established, secondary mechanisms associated with dystrophic pathophysiology are not fully clarified yet. In order to obtain new insights into the molecular mechanisms of muscle dystrophy during earlier stages of the disease, we performed a comparative proteomic profile of the spared extraocular muscles (EOM) vs. affected diaphragm from the mdx mice, using a label based shotgun proteomic approach. Out of the 857 identified proteins, 42 to 62 proteins had differential abundance of peptide ions. The calcium-handling proteins sarcalumenin and calsequestrin-1 were increased in control EOM compared with control DIA, reinforcing the view that constitutional properties of EOM are important for their protection against myonecrosis. The finding that galectin-1 (muscle regeneration), annexin A1 (anti-inflammatory) and HSP 47 (fibrosis) were increased in dystrophic diaphragm provides novel insights into the mechanisms through which mdx affected muscles are able to counteract dystrophy, during the early stage of the disease. Overall, the shotgun technique proved to be suitable to perform quantitative comparisons between distinct dystrophic muscles and allowed the suggestion of new potential biomarkers and drug targets for dystrophinopaties.
We have extensively investigated the mechanical properties of passive eye muscles, in vivo, in anesthetized and paralyzed monkeys. The complexity inherent in rheological measurements makes it desirable to present the results in terms of a mathematical model. Because Fung's quasi-linear viscoelastic (QLV) model has been particularly successful in capturing the viscoelastic properties of passive biological tissues, here we analyze this dataset within the framework of Fung's theory.
We found that the basic properties assumed under the QLV theory (separability and superposition) are not typical of passive eye muscles. We show that some recent extensions of Fung's model can deal successfully with the lack of separability, but fail to reproduce the deviation from superposition.
While appealing for their elegance, the QLV model and its descendants are not able to capture the complex mechanical properties of passive eye muscles. In particular, our measurements suggest that in a passive extraocular muscle the force does not depend on the entire length history, but to a great extent is only a function of the last elongation to which it has been subjected. It is currently unknown whether other passive biological tissues behave similarly.
Strabismic extraocular muscles (EOMs) differ from normal EOMs in structural and functional properties, but the gene expression profile of these two types of EOM has not been examined. Differences in gene expression may inform about causes and effects of the strabismic condition in humans.
EOM samples were obtained during corrective surgery from patients with horizontal strabismus and from deceased organ donors with normal EOMs. Microarrays and quantitative PCR identified significantly up- and down-regulated genes in EOM samples. Analysis was performed on probe sets with more than 3-fold differential expression between normal and strabismic samples, with an adjusted P value of ≤ 0.05.
Microarray analysis showed that 604 genes in these samples had significantly different expression. Expression predominantly was upregulated in genes involved in extracellular matrix structure, and down-regulated in genes related to contractility. Expression of genes associated with signaling, calcium handling, mitochondria function and biogenesis, and energy homeostasis also was significantly different between normal and strabismic EOM. Skeletal muscle PCR array identified 22 (25%) of 87 muscle-specific genes that were significantly down-regulated in strabismic EOMs; none was significantly upregulated.
Differences in gene expression between strabismic and normal human EOMs point to a relevant contribution of the peripheral oculomotor system to the strabismic condition. Decreases in expression of contractility genes and increases of extracellular matrix-associated genes indicate imbalances in EOM structure. We conclude that gene regulation of proteins fundamental to contractile mechanics and extracellular matrix structure is involved in pathogenesis and/or consequences of strabismus, suggesting potential novel therapeutic targets.
Strabismic human extraocular muscles show significant changes in gene expression with upregulation of genes related to extracellular matrix and downregulation of myosin genes. The strabismic transcriptome suggests a major contribution of the muscle to strabismus, as well as new therapeutic targets.
Extraocular muscles (EOMs) have unique calcium handling properties, yet little is known about the dynamics of calcium events underlying ultrafast and tonic contractions in myofibers of intact EOMs. Superior oblique EOMs of juvenile chickens were dissected with their nerve attached, maintained in oxygenated Krebs buffer, and loaded with fluo-4. Spontaneous and nerve stimulation-evoked calcium transients were recorded and, following calcium imaging, some EOMs were double-labeled with rhodamine-conjugated alpha-bungarotoxin (rhBTX) to identify EOM myofiber types. EOMs showed two main types of spontaneous calcium transients, one slow type (calcium waves with 1/2max duration of 2–12 s, velocity of 25–50 μm/s) and two fast “flash-like” types (Type 1, 30–90 ms; Type 2, 90–150 ms 1/2max duration). Single pulse nerve stimulation evoked fast calcium transients identical to the fast (Type 1) calcium transients. Calcium waves were accompanied by a local myofiber contraction that followed the calcium transient wavefront. The magnitude of calcium-wave induced myofiber contraction far exceeded those of movement induced by nerve stimulation and associated fast calcium transients. Tetrodotoxin eliminated nerve-evoked transients, but not spontaneous transients. Alpha-bungarotoxin eliminated both spontaneous and nerve-evoked fast calcium transients, but not calcium waves, and caffeine increased wave activity. Calcium waves were observed in myofibers lacking spontaneous or evoked fast transients, suggestive of multiply-innervated myofibers, and this was confirmed by double-labeling with rhBTX. We propose that the abundant spontaneous calcium transients and calcium waves with localized contractions that do not depend on innervation may contribute to intrinsic generation of tonic functions of EOMs.
extraocular muscle; skeletal muscle; calcium; calcium imaging; oculomotor; myofiber; fluo-4
The extraocular muscles (EOM) are spared from pathology in aging and many forms of muscular dystrophy. Despite many studies, this sparing remains an enigma. The EOM have a distinct embryonic lineage compared to somite-derived muscles, and we have shown that they continuously remodel throughout life, maintaining a population of activated satellite cells even in aging. This data suggested the hypothesis that there is a population of myogenic precursor cells (mpcs) in EOM that is different from those in limb, with either elevated numbers of stem cells and/or mpcs with superior proliferative capacity compared to mpcs in limb. Using flow cytometry, EOM and limb muscle mononuclear cells were compared, and a number of differences were seen. Using two different cell isolation methods, EOM have significantly more mpcs per mg muscle than limb skeletal muscle. One specific subpopulation significantly increased in EOM compared to limb was positive for CD34 and negative for Sca-1, M-cadherin, CD31, and CD45. We named these the EOMCD34 cells. Similar percentages of EOMCD34 cells were present in both newborn EOM and limb muscle. In addition, they were retained in aged EOM, whereas the population decreased significantly in adult limb muscle and were extremely scarce in aged limb muscle. Most importantly, the percentage of EOMCD34 cells were elevated in the EOM from both the mdx and the mdx/utrophin−/− (DKO) mouse models of DMD and extremely scarce in the limb muscles of these mice. In vitro, the EOMCD34 cells had myogenic potential, forming myotubes in differentiation media. After determining a media better able to induce proliferation in these cells, a fusion index was calculated. The cells isolated from EOM had a 40% higher fusion index compared to the same cells isolated from limb muscle. The EOMCD34 cells were resistant to both oxidative stress and mechanical injury. These data support our hypothesis that the EOM may be spared in aging and in muscular dystrophies due to a subpopulation of mpcs, the EOMCD34 cells, that are retained in significantly higher percentages in normal, mdx and DKO mice EOM, appear to be resistant to elevated levels of oxidative stress and toxins, and actively proliferate throughout life. Current studies are focused on further defining the EOMCD34 cell subtype molecularly, with the hopes that this may shed light on a cell type with potential therapeutic use in patients with sarcopenia, cachexia, or muscular dystrophy.
extraocular muscles; muscular dystrophy; satellite cells; myogenic precursor cells; flow cytometry; CD34; aging
Extraocular muscles (EOMs) are categorized as skeletal muscles; however, emerging evidence indicates that their gene expression profile, metabolic characteristics and functional properties are significantly different from the prototypical members of this muscle class. Gene expression profiling of developing and adult EOM suggest that many myofilament and cytoskeletal proteins have unique expression patterns in EOMs, including the maintained expression of embryonic and fetal isoforms of myosin heavy chains (MyHC), the presence of a unique EOM specific MyHC and mixtures of both cardiac and skeletal muscle isoforms of thick and thin filament accessory proteins. We demonstrate that nonmuscle myosin IIB (nmMyH IIB) is a sarcomeric component in ~20% of the global layer fibers in adult rat EOMs. Comparisons of the myofibrillar distribution of nmMyHC IIB with sarcomeric MyHCs indicate that nmMyH IIB co-exists with slow MyHC isoforms. In longitudinal sections of adult rat EOM, nmMyHC IIB appears to be restricted to the A-bands. Although nmMyHC IIB has been previously identified as a component of skeletal and cardiac sarcomeres at the level of the Z-line, the novel distribution of this protein within the A band in EOMs is further evidence of both the EOMs complexity and unconventional phenotype.
cytoskeleton; thick filament; tonic fibers
Background: Structural details of vertebrate extraocular muscles (EOMs) have shown an anatomically and functionally distinct laminar organization into an outer orbital (OL) and an inner global layer (GL). Since hyperthyroidism alters tissue oxidative metabolism through mitochondrial enzymes, it is expected that structural/mitochondrial changes may be seen in hyperthyroid EOMs. We investigated the alterations in the laminar organization and mitochondrial changes in hyperthyroid mouse EOMs. Methods: Hyperthyroidism was induced in C57BL/6 mice and fresh rectus muscles were obtained to identify functional mitochondria using MitoTracker® Green and confocal microscopy; frozen sections from rectus muscles were stained with anti-rabbit Troponin T (selectively present in the OL) to demonstrate changes in the OL and GL of the EOMs. Ultrastructural features of EOMs were studied using transmission electron microscopy (TEM). Results: Of all four rectus EOMs studied, the maximum change was seen in the inferior rectus muscle (IR) followed by medial rectus (MR). Myofiber cross-sectional area measurements and Troponin T staining in the control IR EOMs demonstrated a smaller OL (113.2 ± 3.66 μm2) and higher density staining with Troponin T (90%) and a larger GL (411 ± 13.84 μm2) with low intensity staining (10%), while hyperthyroidism resulted in an increased OL (205.9 ± 5.3 μm2) and decreased GL (271.7 ± 7.5 μm2) p = 0.001. Confocal microscopy demonstrated an intense staining especially in the outer rims in the hyperthyroid IR which was confirmed by TEM showing structural alterations in the mitochondria and a subsarcolemmal migration. Conclusions: The outer, thinner, OL of the mouse EOM contains smaller diameter myofibers and fewer mitochondria while the inner, larger GL contains larger diameter myofibers and larger density of mitochondria. Hyperthyroidism results in a significant alteration in the laminar organization and mitochondrial alterations of mouse EOMs.
hyperthyroid mice; orbital layer; global layer; extraocular muscles; inferior rectus; Troponin T; mitochondria