1. Voluntary muscle activity in chick embryos was paralysed by administration in ovo of tubocurarine hydrochloride, administered in single or multiple doses, from day 9 to day 13 after fertilization. Control eggs were given saline instead of tubocurarine or were simply incubated without operative interference. Embryos were killed at 9, 13, 14, 16 and 19 days after fertilization. Flexor digitorum tendons were removed, fixed in glutaraldehyde, embedded in plastic, sectioned, and stained with phosphotungstic acid for electron microscopy. The diameters of the tendon collagen fibrils were measured, on electron micrographs, using a Magiscan Mk II programme.
2. Tendon collagen fibril expansion was not inhibited by tubocurarine treatment. It is concluded that the rapid increase of collagen fibril diameters, which coincides in the normal embryo with the first onset of use of the associated muscle, is not dependent on muscle activity. There remains a possibility that other ways of producing tension in the tendon could provide sufficient stimulus to fibril expansion.