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Morphometric Analysis Of Neuromuscular Topography In The Serratus Anterior Muscle

S. Potluri, S. J. Lampa, A. Norton, M. B. Laskowski
Published 2006 · Biology, Medicine

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Groups of neurons form ordered topographic maps on their targets, and defining the mechanisms that develop such maps, and reconnect them after disruption, has biological as well as clinical importance. The neuromuscular system is an accessible and well‐studied model for defining the principles that guide map formation, both during its development and its reformation after motor nerve damage. We present evidence for the expression of this map at the level of nerve terminal morphology and muscle fiber type in the serratus anterior muscle. Morphometric analyses indicate, first, a rostrocaudal difference in nerve terminal size depending on the ventral root of origin of the axons. Second, motor endplates are larger on type IIB than type IIA muscle fibers. Third, whereas IIB muscle fibers are distributed rather evenly along the rostrocaudal axis of the muscle, the more rostral type IIB fibers are preferentially innervated by anteriorly derived (C6) motor neurons, and more caudal IIB fibers are preferentially innervated by posteriorly derived (C7) motor neurons. This inference is supported by analysis of the size of nerve terminals formed in each muscle sector by rostral and caudal roots, and by evidence that the larger terminals are on IIB fibers. These results demonstrate a subcellular expression of neuromuscular topography in the serratus anterior muscle (SA) muscle in the form of differences in nerve terminal size. These results provide deeper insights into the organization of a neuromuscular system. They also offer a rationale for a topographic map, that is, to allow spinal motor centers to activate selectively different compartments within a muscle. Muscle Nerve, 2006
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