Skeletal muscle fiber composition of the English sparrow (Passer domesticus)

Jennifer Marquez, Karen Sweazea, Eldon J. Braun

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Substrate utilization by English sparrow skeletal muscle has been extensively studied in our lab. However, there are few published studies on the muscle fiber composition of English sparrow wing and gastrocnemius muscles. The objective of the present study was to examine the fiber type composition of a variety of muscles in the English sparrow. The classification of a muscle fiber as fast glycolytic, slow oxidative, or fast oxidative glycolytic provides insight into the physiological function of muscles. Therefore, we completed mATPase and NADH stains on four muscles of the sparrow wing, as well as the gastrocnemius muscle, to characterize these muscle fiber types. Results show that the fibers of extensor digitorum communis, extensor metacarpi ulnaris, and extensor metacarpi radialis are homogeneous fast oxidative. The fibers of the supinator are homogeneous fast oxidative in 62.5% of samples, and heterogeneous (45.2% fast oxidative, 54.8% fast nonoxidative) in 37.5% of samples. Whereas the gastrocnemius muscle fibers are heterogeneous (10% fast oxidative, 64% fast nonoxidative, 26% slow oxidative) in all muscles examined.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)126-131
Number of pages6
JournalComparative Biochemistry and Physiology - B Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2006


  • Avian
  • English sparrow
  • Fiber type
  • Myosin ATPase
  • NADH
  • Skeletal muscle

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Physiology
  • Molecular Biology


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