Briefe 1906

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L.2811Edward B[rowning] MeigsAlexander Rollett1906 VI 4Philadelphia

Herr Professor Dr. A. Rollett
Dear Sir, –

Some months ago I had the pleasure of sending you the reprints of two articles on muscular contraction. I am at present attempting to write a dissertation [?] of the relation between the observation recorded in those articles and the more important observations on muscle that have been needed [?] in the past.

I am considering the literature of muscle and naturally turn to your work, which, as I can discover, is universally quoted and regarded as the authority on this subject. After reading a number of your articles and looking through all to which I could find reference, I am still in doubt as to a number of prints. If you could enlighten me in regard of three prints or refer me to articles from which I could gain information. I should be very much indebted to you.

In volume LI of the Denkschriften der Wiener Akademie, page 62, you state that, on account of the fundamental differences between the wing muscles of insects and all other form of muscles, you consider that it is useless to attempt to compare the wing muscles with other forms. You then state that it is your inention to deal with the insects’ wing muscles in a separate article. I have been unable to find this article or any reference to it. Has it appeared? If it has, will you be so kind as to tell me, where it may be found? I should like very much to learn whether you agree with Schäfer in considering that the so-called fibrilae (“stielrunden Fasern”) of the wing muscles are homologous to the muscle columns of the leg muscles and of vertebrate muscles, or whether you think that no homologics can yet be pointed out. The fact that you speak of the elements of the wing muscles as “Fasern” seems to indicate that you think them if anything homologous to the fibers (Fasern) of the leg muscles and of vertebrate muscles.

Another subject on which I should most earnestly like to know your opinion is that of the independent contractility of the fibrillae of the insects’ leg muscles and of vertrebrate muscle. Do you consider that there is any evidence to show [?] that the fibrillae or muscle columns are independently contractile, that is that the weight supported and lifted by a contracting muscle is supported and lifted by the activity of the fibrillae or muscle columns alone? To my mind, which can think only in mechanical terms, it seems impossible that you hold this opinion, as you speak of the finer structure of the muscle fibre as “labile”, and also from the descriptions you give of the changes of […] by the muscle columns and by the muscle fibres in muscle degenerating outside the body, but still living and actively contracting.

I trust you will not consider my questions importunate; your answering them is a matter of the greatest importance to me.

Yours very respectfully,

Edward B. Meigs
University of Pennsylvania Department of Medicine, Philadelphia
P[ennsylvani]a USA