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Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2008 Sep;295(3):H1243-H1252. doi: 10.1152/ajpheart.00484.2008. Epub 2008 Jul 18.

Three-dimensional transmural organization of perimysial collagen in the heart.

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Department of Physiology, University of Auckland, Private Bag 92019, Auckland 1142, New Zealand.


There is strong support for the view that the ventricular myocardium has a laminar organization in which myocytes are grouped into branching layers separated by cleavage planes. However, understanding of the extent and functional implications of this architecture has been limited by the lack of a systematic three-dimensional description of the organization of myocytes and associated perimysial collagen. We imaged myocytes and collagen across the left ventricular wall at high resolution in seven normal rat hearts using extended volume confocal microscopy. We developed novel reconstruction and segmentation techniques necessary for the quantitative analysis of three-dimensional myocyte and perimysial collagen organization. The results confirm that perimysial collagen has an ordered arrangement and that it defines a laminar organization. Perimysial collagen is composed of three distinct forms: extensive meshwork on laminar surfaces, convoluted fibers connecting adjacent layers, and longitudinal cords. While myolaminae are the principal form of structural organization throughout most of the wall, they are not seen in the subepicardium, where perimysial collagen is present only as longitudinal cords.

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