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Am J Anat. 1991 Apr;190(4):385-92.

Fiber type composition of the human female trapezius muscle: enzyme-histochemical characteristics.

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  • 1Department of Anatomy, University of UmeĆ„, Sweden.


Tne anatomy of the human trapezius muscle is complex, with an extensive origin and fibers running in different directions. The muscle is commonly divided into three different muscle portions according to the fiber direction: the descending, transverse, and ascending portions. In a previous study in males, the structure of the muscle differed between different portions with respect to the enzyme-histochemical fiber-type profile. The lower regions of the descending portion and the transverse and the ascending portions had a predominance of type I fibers. The type II fibers were more frequent in the upper regions of the descending portion, and the cross-sectional fiber area in this region of the muscle was smaller. In this study, we have investigated the trapezius muscle in females and compared the results with those from males. The different portions of the female muscle had a relatively even fiber-type composition. However, there tended to be fewer type I fibers and more type IIB fibers in the descending portion of the muscle, and the fibers of the lower regions of the descending portion were somewhat larger. The fiber-type distribution pattern was similar to that of the male trapezius muscle, but the mean cross-sectional area of the fibers in the female muscle was considerably smaller. Thus, our conclusion is that the trapezius muscle of females has a similar activity pattern as that of males. The significantly smaller cross-sectional fiber area, however, may indicate a lower functional capacity which may be of importance in the development of neck and shoulder dysfunction in females.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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