Resolving the true ventricular mural architecture

Robert S Stephenson, Peter Agger, Camilla Omann, Damian Sanchez-Quintana, Jonathan C Jarvis, Robert H Anderson

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The precise nature of packing together of the cardiomyocytes within the ventricular walls has still to be determined. The spiraling nature of the chains of interconnected cardiomyocytes has long been recognized. As long ago as the end of the nineteenth century, Pettigrew had emphasized that the ventricular cone was not arranged on the basis of skeletal muscle. Despite this guidance, subsequent anatomists described entities such as “bulbo-spiral muscles”, with this notion of subunits culminating in the suggestion that the ventricular cone could be unwrapped so as to produce a “ventricular myocardial band”. Others, in contrast, had suggested that the ventricular walls were arranged on the basis of “sheets”, or more recently “sheetlets”, with investigators seeking to establishing the angulation of these entities using techniques such as magnetic resonance imaging. Our own investigations, in contrast, have shown that the cardiomyocytes are aggregated together within the supporting fibrous matrix so as to produce a three-dimensional myocardial mesh. In this review, we summarize the previous accounts, and provide the anatomical evidence we have thus far accumulated to support the model of the myocardial mesh. We show how these anatomic findings underscore the concept of the myocardial mesh functioning in antagonistic fashion. They lend evidence to support the notion that the ventricular myocardium works as a muscular hydrostat.

Original languageEnglish
Article number34
Number of pages14
JournalJRSM cardiovascular disease
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jun 2018


  • cardiomyocytes
  • ventricular walls
  • fibrous matrix
  • cardiac antagonism


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