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The hypaxial origin of the epaxially located rhomboid muscles

Saberi, M., Qin, P., Valasek, P., Norizadeh-Abbariki, T., Patel, K. and Huang, R. (2017) The hypaxial origin of the epaxially located rhomboid muscles. Annals of Anatomy, 214. pp. 15-20. ISSN 1618-0402

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1016/j.aanat.2017.05.009


In vertebrates, skeletal muscles of the body are made up of epaxial and hypaxial muscles based on their innervation and relative position to the vertebral column. The epaxial muscles are innervated by the dorsal branches of the spinal nerves and comprise the intrinsic (deep) back muscles, while the hypaxial muscles are innervated by the ventral branches of the spinal nerves including the plexus and consist of a heterogeneous group of intercostal, abdominal, and limb as well as girdle muscles. The canonical view holds that the epaxial muscles are derived from the medial halves of the somites, whereas the hypaxial muscles are all derived from the lateral somitic halves. The rhomboid muscles are situated dorsal to the vertebral column and therefore in the domain typically occupied by epaxial muscles. However, they are innervated by a ventral branch of the brachial plexus called the N. dorsalis scapulae. Due to the apparent inappropriate position of the muscle in relation to its innervation we investigated its origin to help clarify this issue. To study the embryonic origin of the rhomboid muscles, we followed derivatives of the medial and lateral somite halves using quail-chick chimeras. Our results showed that the rhomboid muscles are made up of cells derived mainly from the lateral portion of the somite. Therefore the rhomboid muscles which lie within the epaxial domain of the body, originate from the hypaxial domain of the somites. However, their connective tissue is derived from both medial and lateral somite.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Life Sciences > School of Biological Sciences > Biomedical Sciences
ID Code:70971


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