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J Biomech. 1999 Apr;32(4):329-45.

Muscle as a collagen fiber reinforced composite: a review of force transmission in muscle and whole limb.

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Instituut voor Fundamentele and Klinische Bewegingswetenschappen, Faculteit Bewegingswetenschappen, Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, Netherlands.


Even though no direct physiologic evidence proving that myo-tendinous junctions at the end of myofibers are sites of force transmission is available, these locations are accepted to support this function, because its specialized morphology resembles that of load-bearing membranes in structure and location: Its design is fit for force transmission of force exerted by myofibers to tendinous fibrous material. Shearing of the interface between these structures is thought to be stronger than direct tensile transmission. On the basis of morphological studies of 'in-series fibered muscle' and biomechanical modeling it has been argued previously that force could also be transmitted laterally from the tapered ends of myofibers onto in series myofiber via the intramuscular connective tissue component. Shearing of the interfaces between myofibers is hypothesized to be the mechanisms of transmission. The interfaces are made up of basal membranes of both myofibers and their common endomysium. The issue of lateral force transmission from myofibers has not been addressed for whole muscle, in which myofibers are attached at both ends to tendinous aponeuroses, nor is any direct experimental evidence available about possible functional importance of this phenomenon in whole muscle. The primary objective of this presentation is to review available literature on myo-tendinous and myo-fascial force transmission, present evidence from experiments involving tenotomy, fasciatomy and aponeurotomy regarding its importance and consider implications for our thinking about muscle(s) and movement.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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