Mechanical load influences embryonic ventricular growth, morphogenesis, and function. To date, little is known regarding how the embryonic left ventricular (LV) myocardium acquires a three-dimensional (3D) fiber architecture distribution or how altered mechanical load influences local myofiber architecture. We tested the hypothesis that altered mechanical load changes the maturation process of local 3D fiber architecture of the developing embryonic LV compact myocardium. We measured transmural myofiber angle distribution in the LV compact myocardium in Hamburger-Hamilton stages 21, 27, 31, and 36 chick embryos during normal development or following either left atrial ligation (LAL; LV hypoplasia model) or conotruncal banding (CTB; LV hyperplasia model). The embryonic LV was stained with f-actin and then z-serial optical sectioning was performed using a laser confocal scanning microscope. We reconstructed local 3D myofiber images and computed local transmural myofiber angle distribution. Transmural myofiber angles in compact myocardium (in LV sagittal sections) were oriented in a circumferential direction until stage 27 (−10 to 10°). Myofibers in the outer side of compact myocardium shifted to a more longitudinal direction by stage 36 (10 to 40°), producing a transmural gradient in myofiber orientation. Developmental changes in transmural myofiber angle distribution were significantly delayed following LAL, while the changes in angle distribution were accelerated following CTB. Results suggest that mechanical load modulates the maturation process of myofiber architecture distribution in the developing LV compact myocardium. © 2005 Wiley-Liss, Inc.