Topography of Mechanoreceptors in the Connective Tissue of the Elbow Joint Region in Monodelphis Domestica, a Laboratory Marsupial
The elbow joint of Monodelphis domestica was studied by means of serial semithin sections and computer-aided three dimensional reconstructions. Two series were collected: series A consisted of the proximal part of the elbow joint capsule over 6 mm, series B of the lateral (radial) aspect of the joint over 2 mm. The elbow joint of Monodelphis domestica is a ginglymo-trochoid joint with full range of pro- and supination. The predominant part of its capsule belongs to the rigid type of joint capsules. It is part of the surrounding connective tissue apparatus in which the muscles are embedded. By means of light microscopy, four types of mechanoreceptors are observed: Ruffini corpuscles (RCs), muscle spindles (MSPs), Golgi tendon organs (GTOs) and lamellated corpuscles (LCs). In series A (proximal part of the joint) 9 RCs, 106 MSPs, 75 GTOs and 66 LCs are identified. Ruffini corpuscles are detected in the fibrous layer of the capsule. MSPs and GTOs predominantely occur in the triceps, biceps and brachialis muscles in close relation to each other. A group of 5 to 7 GTOs without any relations to MSPs are seen in the medial intermuscular septum proximal to the medial epicondyle. Of a total number of 66 LCs, 30% are found in periarticular loose connective tissue, 33% in the stratum fibrosum of the joint capsule and 24% in the muscle-tendon transition zones. The latter two measure less than 20 μm in diameter, corpuscles of the first group measure 50–70 μm in diameter. Series B displays 22 RCs, 22 MSPs, 4 GTOs and 40 LCs. The RCs predominate on the flexion side of the elbow joint capsule, while the LCs are distributed over the whole lateral part of the joint capsule. In contrast to the findings of series A constituting the proximal part of the joint region, series B displays 70% of all LCs counted in the stratum fibrosum, but only 15% in loose periarticular tissue and 15% in muscle-tendon transition zone. Quantitative evaluations and functional considerations are discussed.
KeywordsJoint Capsule Muscle Spindle Elbow Joint Fibrous Layer Joint Position Sense
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