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Collagen pp 325-357 | Cite as

The Extracellular Matrix of Skeletal and Cardiac Muscle

  • P.P. Purslow

Abstract

Well-organized and distinct extracellular matrix networks exist within both striated and cardiac muscles. Individual muscle cells are separated by a fine collagen fiber network embedded in a proteoglycan matrix (the endomysium). Larger groups or bundles of muscle cells are separated by a thicker connective tissue structure, the perimysium. The endomysium separating adjacent muscle cells joins together at the nodes between cells to form a continuous structure within the muscle fiber bundle, and perimysium similarly forms a continuous network throughout the entire organ.

In striated muscle, the networks of wavy (non-straight) collagen fibers in both endomysium and perimysium can easily reorientate and offer little tensile resistance to changing muscle length. However, forces can be transmitted efficiently by shear through the thickness of the endomysium. The endomysium fulfills the role of mechanically linking adjacent muscle fibers so as to coordinate their length changes and keep their sarcomere lengths uniform. Especially in series-fibered muscles, shear through the thickness of the endomysium is a key mechanism for transmission of forces generated by contraction of muscle fibers.

There is evidence that the perimysium of striated muscle can also play a role in muscle force transmission (myofascial force transmission), but there is also a clear role for the perimysial boundaries between adjacent muscle fiber bundles to accommodate shear deformations generated when muscles contract. Differences in shear strains generated in anatomically different muscles appear to be the main explanation of why the division of muscles into fiber bundles (fascicles) by perimysium varies so much from muscle to muscle.

The endomysium and perimysium in cardiac muscle shows strong similarities in structure and function to the same extracellular matrix structures in striated\break muscle.

The extracellular matrix in muscle is dynamically remodeled according to the loads imposed on it during muscle growth, exercise, and as a response to damage. This is especially relevant to the properties of cardiac muscle after ischemia. Matrix metalloproteinases responsible for remodeling extracellular matrix within muscle are secreted both by fibroblasts and by the muscle cells.

The atrioventricular valves in the heart are special connective tissue structures well adapted to their function. Collagen fiber orientation in the cusps of these valves is closely modulated to reinforce the valves against predominant haemodynamic stresses.

The connective tissue structures within striated and cardiac muscles are an integrated part of the muscle as a whole tissue or organ and play key roles in their in vivo mechanical functions and properties.

Keywords

Cardiac Muscle Muscle Length Sarcomere Length Pennation Angle Adjacent Muscle 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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