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Anat Embryol (Berl). 1978 Feb 20;152(2):171-92.

Myelinated nerve fiber supply and muscle spindles in the respiratory muscles of cat: quantitative study.


The present study was undertaken to provide quantitative data on the myelinated fibers of the phrenic and intercostal nerves and the number of spindles in the main respiratory muscles of the cat. The myelinated component of the phrenic and intercostal nerves was studied in the cat. Histograms of sequency distributions as a function of nerve fiber diameter were established for normal nerves. Certain nerves were then examined 35 to 40 days after excision of the dorsal spinal ganglia. The muscle spindles of the corresponding muscles were counted and localized, and, on the basis of several morphological criteria, were classified with those usually described in the interosseous muscles. The study of the nerves, as that of the spindles, demonstrates clear differences of proprioceptive innervation among the respirator muscles. The lateral part of the diaphragm and the Triangularis sterni have practically no spindles. The external muscles of the first thoracic spaces are very rich in spindles. Respiratory muscles can be ranged in an almost continuous manner between these two extremes.

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