Strength at the extracellular matrix-muscle interface

Miranda Grounds, L. Sorokin, J. White

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

96 Citations (Scopus)


Mechanical force is generated within skeletal muscle cells by contraction of specialized myofibrillar proteins. This paper explores how the contractile force generated at the sarcomeres within an individual muscle fiber is transferred through the connective tissue to move the bones. The initial key point for transfer of the contractile force is the muscle cell membrane (sarcolemma) where force is transferred laterally to the basement membrane (specialized extracellular matrix rich in laminins) to be integrated within the connective tissue (rich in collagens) before transmission to the tendons. Connections between (1) key molecules outside the myofiber in the basement membrane to (2) molecules within the sarcolemma of the myofiber and (3) the internal cytoplasmic structures of the cytoskeleton and sarcomeres are evaluated. Disturbances to many components of this complex interactive system adversely affect skeletal muscle strength and integrity, and can result in severe muscle diseases. The mechanical aspects of these crucial linkages are discussed, with particular reference to defects in laminin-alpha 2 and integrin-alpha 7. Novel interventions to potentially increase muscle strength and reduce myofiber damage are mentioned, and these are also highly relevant to muscle diseases and aging muscle.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)381-391
JournalScandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2005

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