Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Biophys J. 2001 Feb;80(2):1024-8.

Demonstration of primary and secondary muscle fiber architecture of the bovine tongue by diffusion tensor magnetic resonance imaging.

Author information

  • 1NMR Center and Department of Radiology, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.


The myoarchitecture of the tongue is comprised of a complex array of muscle fiber bundles, which form the structural basis for lingual deformations during speech and swallowing. We used magnetic resonance imaging of the water diffusion tensor to display the primary and secondary fiber architectural attributes of the excised bovine tongue. Fiber orientation mapping provides a subdivision of the tongue into its principal intrinsic and extrinsic muscular components. The anterior tongue consists of a central region of orthogonally oriented intrinsic fibers surrounded by an axially oriented muscular sheath. The posterior tongue consists principally of a central region of extrinsic fibers, originating at the inferior surface and projecting in a fan-like manner in the superior, lateral, and posterior directions, and lateral populations of extrinsic fibers directed posterior-inferior and posterior-superior. Analysis of cross-fiber anisotropy indicates a basic contrast of design between the extrinsic and the intrinsic fibers. Whereas the extrinsic muscles exhibit a uniaxial architecture typical of skeletal muscle, the intrinsic core muscles, comprised of the verticalis and the transversus muscles, show strong cross-fiber anisotropy. This pattern is consistent with the theory that the tongue's core functions as a muscular hydrostat in that conjoint contraction of the transverse and vertical fibers enable the tissue to expand at right angles to these fibers. These findings suggest that three-dimensional analysis of diffusion tensor magnetic resonance imaging provides a structural basis for understanding the micromechanics of the mammalian tongue.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk