Studying the fine structure of muscles used by fish to 'sing' to their mate could help researchers to better understand, and treat, heart conditions.
A better understanding of how muscle fibres contract could bring new insights into heart conditions.
To find out more, researchers from Imperial’s NHLI have turned their focus to a humming fish.
Male midshipman fish use a special muscle to emit humming sounds to attract females.
The sound, which has been compared to a swarm of bees or the hum of an electric guitar amplifier, can be so loud during summer months it has disrupted the sleep of houseboat owners.
But the ‘Z-band’ in this muscle – the region where the repeating building blocks of muscle (sarcomeres) join with one another – are extraordinarily wide and ideal for high resolution imaging.
These stunning images, obtained by Dr Pradeep Luther and team, help to show how tension is relayed between the muscle fibres.
Dr Luther explained: “Understanding normal Z-band helps us to understand the changes that occur in diseased hearts.”
The work was funded by the British Heart Foundation.
'Three-dimensional structure of the basketweave Z-band in midshipman fish sonic muscle' by Burgoyne, T. et al., is published in PNAS. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1902235116
Article text (excluding photos or graphics) © Imperial College London.
Photos and graphics subject to third party copyright used with permission or © Imperial College London.
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