Myofibrillar adenosine triphosphatase (ATPase) activity was demonstrated in sections of masseter and temporalis muscles and of selected limb muscles of adult rhesus monkeys. Incubations were performed either with no pre-treatment or after prior incubation in alkaline media (pH 10.2–10.4) or acidic media (pH 3.8–4.6). Without pre-treatment, fibres having high or low ATPase activity were observed in limb and masticatory muscles. Following alkaline pre-incubation the difference between high and low ATPase of limb muscle fibres is accentuated, whereas pre-incubation in acidic media (pH 4.3) results in inhibition of high and potentiation of low ATPase activities (‘acid reversal’). While pre-incubation of masticatory muscle sections at pH 10.2 accentuates differences in ATPase activity, pre-incubation at pH 10.4 abolishes ATPase activity. In contrast, masticatory muscle fibres showed no reversal of ATPase activity following acidic pre-incubation (pH 4.3). Pre-incubation at pH 3.8 abolished the ATPase activity of both limb and masticatory muscle fibres. The biochemical basis for the differences in ATPase histochemistry between masticatory and limb muscles is not known
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