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Characterisation of human soft palate muscles with respect to fibre types, myosins and capillary supply.
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Integrative Medical Biology (IMB), Anatomy.
Clinic of Orthodontics and Postgraduate Education and Department of Orthodontics, Malmö University, Malmö.
2000 (English)In: Journal of Anatomy, ISSN 0021-8782, E-ISSN 1469-7580, Vol. 197 ( Pt 2), 275-90 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Four human soft palate muscles, and palatopharyngeus, the uvula, the levator and tensor veli palatini were examined using enzyme-histochemical, immunohistochemical and biochemical methods and compared with human limb and facial muscles. Our results showed that each palate muscle had a distinct morphological identity and that they generally shared more similarities with facial than limb muscles. The palatopharyngeus and uvula muscles contained 2 of the highest proportions of type II fibres ever reported for human muscles. In contrast, the levator and tensor veli palatini muscles contained predominantly type I fibres. A fetal myosin heavy chain isoform (MyHC), not usually found in normal adult limb muscles, was present in a small number of fibres in all palate muscles. The mean muscle fibre diameter was smaller than in limb muscles and the individual and intramuscular variability in diameter and shape was considerable. All palate muscles had a high capillary density and an unusually high mitochondrial enzyme activity in the type II fibres, in comparison with limb muscles. No ordinary muscle spindles were observed. The fibre type and MyHC composition indicate that the palatopharyngeus and uvula muscles are functionally involved in quick movements whereas the levator and tensor veli palatini muscles perform slower and more continuous contractions. The high aerobic capacity and the rich capillarisation suggest that the palate muscles are relatively fatigue resistant. Absence of ordinary muscle spindles indicates a special proprioceptive control system. The special morphology of the palate muscles may be partly related to the unique anatomy with only one skeletal insertion, a feature consistent with muscle work at low load and tension and which may influence the cytoarchitecture of these muscles. Other important factors determining the special morphological characteristics might be specific functional requirements, distinct embryological origin and phylogenetic factors.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2000. Vol. 197 ( Pt 2), 275-90 p.
National Category
Basic Medicine
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-83537PubMedID: 11005719OAI: diva2:668675
Available from: 2013-12-02 Created: 2013-12-02 Last updated: 2014-02-12Bibliographically approved

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