Morphology of the Lumbar Transversospinal Muscles Examined in a Mouse Bearing a Muscle Fiber-Specific Nuclear Marker



Although the morphology of human lumbar transversospinal (TSP) muscles has been studied, little is known about the structure of these muscles in the mouse (Mus musculus). Such information is relevant given mice are often used as a “normal” phenotype for studies modeling human development. This study describes the gross morphology, muscle fiber arrangement, and innervation pattern of the mouse lumbar TSP muscles. A unique feature of the study is the use of a transgenic mouse line bearing a muscle-specific nuclear marker that allows clear delineation of muscle fiber and connective tissue boundaries. The lumbar TSP muscles of five mice were examined bilaterally; at each spinal level muscles attached to the caudal edge of the spinous process and passed caudally as a single complex unit. Fibers progressively terminated over the four vertebral segments caudad, with multiple points of muscle fiber attachment on each vertebra. Motor endplates, defined with acetylcholinesterase histochemistry, were consistently located half way along each muscle fiber, regardless of length, with all muscle fibers arranged in-parallel rather than in-series. These results provide information relevant to interpretation of developmental and functional studies involving this muscle group in the mouse and show mouse lumbar TSP muscles are different in form to descriptions of equivalent muscles in humans and horses. Anat Rec, 2010. © 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.