Structure and function of the skeletal muscle extracellular matrix, 2011

Topics: Skeletal muscle; extracellular matrix; collagen; biomechanics; fibrosis

Authors: Allison R. Gillies, and Richard L. Lieber


The skeletal muscle extracellular matrix (ECM) plays an important role in muscle fiber force transmission, maintenance, and repair. In both injured and diseased states, ECM adapts dramatically, a property thathas clinical manifestations and alters muscle function. Here, we review the structure, composition, and mechanical properties of skeletal muscle ECM, describe the cells that contribute to the maintenance of the ECM and, finally, overview changes that occur with pathology. New scanning electron micrographs of ECM structure are also presented with
hypotheses about ECM structure-function relationships. Detailed structure-function relationships of the ECM have yet to be defined and, as a result, we propose areas for future studies.

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