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Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2002 Apr;282(4):H1510-20.

Contribution of laminar myofiber architecture to load-dependent changes in mechanics of LV myocardium.

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Departments of Medicine and Bioengineering, University of California, San Diego, California 90293, USA.


The ventricular myocardium consists of a syncytium of myocytes organized into branching, transmurally oriented laminar sheets approximately four cells thick. When systolic deformation is expressed in an axis system determined by the anatomy of the laminar architecture, laminar sheets of myocytes shear and laterally extend in an approximately radial direction. These deformations account for ~90% of normal systolic wall thickening in the left ventricular free wall. In the present study, we investigated whether the changes in systolic and diastolic function of the sheets were sensitive to alterations in systolic and diastolic load. Our results indicate that there is substantial reorientation of the laminar architecture during systole and diastole. Moreover, this reorientation is both site and load dependent. Thus as end-diastolic pressure is increased and the left ventricular wall thins, sheets shorten and rotate away from the radial direction due to transverse shearing, opposite of what occurs in systole. Both mechanisms of thickening contribute substantially to normal left ventricular wall function. Whereas the relative contributions of shear and extension are comparable at the base, sheet shear is the predominant factor at the apex. The magnitude of shortening/extension and shear increases with preload and decreases with afterload. These findings underscore the essential contribution of the laminar myocardial architecture for normal ventricular function throughout the cardiac cycle.

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