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J Morphol. 1987 Apr;192(1):63-85.

Functional bases of fiber length and angulation in muscle.

Erratum in

  • J Morphol 1987 Sep;193(3):323.


The differences in angulation and length observed for the fibers of anatomical muscles may reflect two distinct mechanical requirements: arrangement for pinnation, reflecting an increase in physiological cross-section and arrangement for equivalent placement of sarcomeres, possibly associated with coordination. The observed differences in fiber angulation and length have different effects upon the responses of sarcomeres, specifically on their extent and rate of shortening and on the force they may generate. The basic mechanisms governing these effects and the various arrangements of muscles are reviewed. Fiber length and angulation in the complex M. adductor mandibulae externus 2 of a lizard were measured stereotactically; these values correlate well with the hypothesis that the muscle shows equivalence and demonstrate that angulation for pinnation is less constant. An outline for the study of muscle architecture and function, detailing the kinds of information require to estimate forces and evaluate muscle and fiber placements, is presented.

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