Cross-sectional study with repeated measures design.
To compare the myosin heavy chain isoform distribution within and between paraspinal muscles and to test the theory that fiber type gradients exist as a function of paraspinal muscle depth.
Summary of Background Data
There is still uncertainty regarding the fiber type distributions within different paraspinal muscles. It has been previously proposed that deep fibers of the multifidus muscle may contain a higher ratio of type I to type II fibers, because, unlike superficial fibers, they primarily stabilize the spine, and may therefore have relatively higher endurance. Using a minimally invasive surgical approach, utilizing tubular retractors that are placed within anatomic inter-muscular planes, it was feasible to obtain biopsies from the multifidus, longissimus, iliocostalis and psoas muscles at specific predefined depths.
Under an IRB approved protocol, muscle biopsies were obtained from 15 patients who underwent minimally invasive spinal surgery, using the posterior paramedian (Wiltse) approach or the minimally invasive lateral approach. Myosin heavy chain (MyHC) isoform distribution was analyzed using SDS-PAGE electrophoresis. Since multiple biopsies were obtained from each patient, MyHC distribution was compared using both within- and between-muscle repeated measures analyses.
The fiber type distribution was similar among the posterior paraspinal muscles and was composed of relatively high percentage of type I (63%), compared to type IIA (19%) and type IIX (18%) fibers. In contrast, the psoas muscle was found to contain a lower percentage of type I fibers (42%) and a higher percentage of type IIA (33%) and IIX fibers (26%; P<0.05). No significant difference was found for fiber type distribution among three different depths of the multifidus and psoas muscles.
Fiber type distribution between the posterior paraspinal muscles is consistent and is composed of relatively high percentage of type I fibers, consistent with a postural function. The psoas muscle, on the other hand, is composed of a higher percentage of type II fibers such as in the appendicular muscles. Our data do not support the idea of a fiber type gradient as a function of depth for any muscle studied.