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Structure and function of muscle. Edited by G. H. Bourne. Volume IStructure. xvi + 472 pages illustrated. 14.00. Academic Press Inc. New York and London 1960

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ANIMALIUM 1627. Edited, translated
and introduced by Gweneth Whitteridge.
163 pages. $10.50. Cambridge
University Press, London. 1960.
Three hundred years have passed since
the death of this genius who discovered
the circulation of the blood and made possible the concepts of modern physiology.
A treatise on muscles was planned by Harvey and announced in the De Motu Cordis
but was not published. The present book
is based on notes from a manuscript in
Harvey’s handwriting in the British Museum. The transcriber and translator deserves great credit for deciphering them
because the hand is very illegible, even for
a physician.
The notes are composed of ideas and
quotations, mainly from Aristotle, Galen,
and Fabricius ab Aquapendente, with
Harvey’s animadversions upon them, the
questions they raised in his mind, and
the way he would go about answering
them. It is quite fascinating to see the
progress he made even without resorting
to experiments as he did in his work with
the circulation.
A point of particular interest is that
he seemed unable to grasp the concept of
the composition of muscle in the descriptions of Galen and Fabricius. The fault
undoubtedly was due to the fact that he
read Galen only in Latin translation. It is
all too easy to transliterate the Latin Zigamentum into ligament. Thus, in Galen’s
treatise “On Muscular Motion,” the Greek
word SYNDESMOS is translated Zigamenturn, but “connective tissue” is more literally accurate. Galen uses it in much the
same way as writers of modern textbooks
use connective tissue to include ligaments,
fascia, and even probably periosteum.
Similar problems arise from the words
neruus and anima, all of which emphasizes the inadequacy of Latin for the translation of Greek and helps to explain many
of the wrong anatomical and physiological
concepts prevalent in Harvey’s time.
The copious and scholarly notes by Mrs.
Whitteridge give many quotations in full
of the passages to which Harvey refers.
She was able to obtain copies of the actual
editions used by him and the quotations,
therefore, are in the Latin with which he
was familiar. Th.ey will be of greater use
to specialists than to the average reader.
This scholarly book gives an entertaining
picture of this greatest of physiologists.
I: Structure. xvi
472 pages, illustrated. $14.00. Academic Press Inc.,
New York and London, 1960.
The editor of this work in three volumes
is well known for his omnivorous appetite
and encyclopedic interests. He is Professor of Anatomy at Emory University and
has brought from England to this country
his welcome skill and facility in writing
and his aptitude for editing timely books.
Only the first of these three volumes
will be of particular interest to Anatomists;
Volume I1 is entitled Biochemistry and
Physiology; Volume I11 Pharmacology and
Disease. My personal reaction to the appearance of this monographic treatment
of muscle was one of enthusiasm because
of my long special interest in this tissue
and because of my inability to keep abreast
of its many advances in the fields of basic
In the first cjhapter by R. D. Lockhart,
on Anatomy and its Relation to Movement,
the philosophy of muscle action is presented containing a resume of much written by Galen in his treatise “On Muscular
Motion.” There is even a suggestion of
teleology when he writes: “The more one
regards the foirmation of the body, the
more one appreciates the beauty of the
design - the niass of the muscle bellies
placed to avoid interference with movement and tapered to tendons or blended
with aponeurotic sheets where joints must
be free or where muscle is unnecessary.”
The picturesque technique of measuring
the length of individual muscle fibers by
teasing them apart with hedgehog spines
is entertaining but gives information
which has since been disproved. One
would also like to know whether the tip
of a cracking whip actually does reach a
velocity which breaks the sound barrier
as stated in connection with the velocity of
muscle action. In the discussions of coordination there is some confusion between the synergetic and ligamentous action of muscles. It seems unfortunate that
an author for this chapter could not have
given us more of a summary of recent contributions such as those of electromyography.
The second chapter by E. W. Walls contains most of the information concerning
the microanatomy of muscle which can be
found in any of our American textbooks
of histology. It seems inexplicable that
the author in reading up for preparation
in writing this chapter missed many of
the original contributions and stumbled
upon many confirmatory ones. The old
controversies are aired again, both sides
given impartially although many are of
academic interest only. Cohnheim’s areas
are still pictured as blotches of fibrils although a reading of Cohnheim’s original
article and the confirming investigation by
Kolliker make it amply clear that the cross
sections of individual fibrils or columns,
as they are seen with the light microscope,
;ire the “areas.” Almost two pages are
given to the opinions of Barer concerning
the muscle-tendon attachment (a junction,
by the way, is the joining of two like elements, such as two roads) although his
conclusions are of questionable assistance.
“However, Barer does not feel that the
protagonists of either view can prove their
case by using conventional fixed and
stained material, but rather that the observation of whole muscle fibers holds out
the best means of a solution.” The reader
is left with a feeling that this continues
to be a full-blown controversy although
the attachment was shown with silver
stains before Barer published and Bennett’s discussion is mentioned rather than
Porter’s demonstration by electron micro-
graphs. The drawing to depict the muscletendon attachment is childish. Of the 98
references at the end of the chapter only
19 were published after 1950.
In the chapter on Development of
Striated Muscle there is a good account
of the myotomes and general muscular development. Most of the histogenesis of
muscle goes back to Godlewski, Meves, and
Duesberg. Fortunately there is a brief and
inadequate mention of the tissue culture
investigations of the Lewis’s but no mention is made of cardiac muscle where histogenesis can be correlated with function
because of the usual spontaneous rhythmic contractions.
The 4th chapter, by E. B. Beckett
and G. H. Bourne, on the histochemistry
of developing skeletal and cardiac muscle
brings out much less-known work with
muscle. The enzymes studied are succinic dehydrogenase, esterases, phosphatases, 5-nucleotidase, and the sulfhydryl
and amino groups. The results are sum’marized at the end of the chapter but the
reader is left quite largely to his own resources for interpretation.
Skeletal muscle tissue culture is the subject of chapter 5 by M. R. Murray. One
must assume that the greater wealth of
investigation with cardiac muscle was too
overwhelming for the author. There is
an up-to-date presentation of the morphology, histogenesis, physiology, and pathology of skeletal muscle as revealed by
tissue culture. Many ingenious experiments are described; interpretations are
terse and indicate that tissue culture is
one of the most promising tools for investigating muscle.
Chapter 6 by H. Stanley Bennett is entitled “The Structure of Striated Muscle
as Seen by the Electron Microscope.” Certainly the interpretation of photographic
enlargements of the image cast upon the
photographic plates used in electron microscopy has rolled back the frontier of
our morphological knowledge of muscle
in a remarkable fashion. The first two
paragraphs are almost exact repetitions
of each other explaining that other chapters in the volume deal with electron microscopy. In this chapter especially the
sarcolemma is described in detail and its
function discussed. The myotendinous at-
tachment is briefly described and a comparison drawn between it and the intercalated disc of heart muscle. The sarcoplasm and its relation to sarcolemma, myofibrils, mitochondria, and reticulum are
discussed in detail. The functional interpretations are clearly presented, bringing
together recent physical and chemical concepts.
Chapter 7, by H. E. Huxley and J. Hanson is entitled “The Molecular Basis of
Contraction in Cross-straited Muscles” and
deals largely with the structure of the myofibril. Electron mickographs and diagrams
depict the ultrastructures and represent
their changes during contraction. At the
end of the chapter the authors express
their conclusions very well : “The purpose
of this chapter was to see to what extent
our present knowledge of the molecular
structure of cross-striated muscle can illuminate the relation between the physiological and biochemical properties of the
€issue, and can provide information about
the detailed events taking place when
the chemically stored energy, through the
mediation of an enzyme system, is converted into mechanical work. The sliding
filament model, and its detailed dimensions, now seem fairly well established.
This model is able to give a logical and
straightforward account of many aspects
of the general physiological behavior of
striated muscle in terms of its chemical
constituents and their known properties
and reactions. The account is, however,
incomplete in perhaps its most important
and fundamental detail, for it does not
specify exactly what process at the crossbridges causes the two sets of filaments to
slide past each other.”
Chapter 8 by Arpad Csapo is on Molecular Structure and Function of Smooth
Muscle. The author compares smooth
muscle with striated muscle because it
belongs to the “contractile family” but he
comments that “To students of smooth
muscle, the support offered by knowledge
of cross-striated muscle has been a comfort; but as this article is written it is apparent that this ground is becoming insecure.” He agrees that it may be appropriate to name it “headache muscle” because
it has been a source of pain to muscle
physiologists, but he thinks that many re-
warding special techniques have been
overlooked and that it is a headache only
to those who restrict their horizons to the
frog sartorius and rabbit psoas.
Structure and Function of the Contractile Apparatus in the Muscles of Invertebrate Animals by Jean Hanson and
J. Lowy is Chapter 9. The subject matter
covers a survey of the animal kingdom;
separate discussions cover structure, biochemistry, and physiology, and comparisons between these and vertebrate muscle.
Interesting theorjes concerning the meaning of striation and the helical arrangement of fibrillae are presented.
Chapter 10 by R. Couteaux is on the
Motor End-plate Structure. The descriptions of this structure obtained from conventional light microscopic observations
have become greatly extended by enzymatic cytochemistry and electron microscopy. The intricate foldings and areas
of specialized contacts are described and
pictured. They are similar to those of central and ganglionic synapses except for
the junctional Isarcoplasm or subneural
part of the end plate. The development
of the end plate is discussed but little of
its function except in terms of the localization of cholinesterase.
Chapter 11, by Sybil Cooper, concerned
with Muscle Spindles and other Muscle
Receptors, contains information which is
likely to be overlooked and which seems
not to be brought together elsewhere. References are given to reviews and an attempt is made not to repeat all their information. In the section on Histology, a
useful correlation is made between the
observations possible in the usual histological preparations and those made with
special stains such as silver and methylene
blue. Receptors from many different parts
of the body and from many animal forms
including invertebrates are reviewed. The
section on Phys tology contains discussions
of the electrical discharges, central connections, and functions in general. A
brief section 011 Pathology discusses the
changes due to loss of innervation.
The last chapter in Volume I is on Intercalated Discs of Heart Muscle by F. s.
Sjostrand and I<. Andersson-Cedergren. It
is a great comfort to have the long popular
chimera of the syncytium of heart muscle
laid to rest. It has been taught dogmatically by most histologists and “The idea
of a syncytial arrangement of the heart
muscle tissue has been accepted by physiologists as explaining, for instance, the
electro-physiological characteristics o f the
cardiac muscle and the all-or-none behavior of the heart muscle.” These authors, however, state quite simply: “There
is no doubt that the heart muscle is subdivided into cell territories and does not
represent a syncytium.” Also, “The electron microscopic study of thin sections
through heart muscle tissue has clearly
demonstrated that the intercalated discs
represent a special differentiation of the
sarcoplasm in connection with transversally oriented cell boundaries (Sjostrand
and Anderson, ’54).” This is more reasonable than the “collagenous invasions”
envisaged by some workers with technically inferior micrographs. The embryonic
development would be improved by the
mention that the individuality of the cells
of embryonic heart muscle can be shown
readily by microdissection of tissue cultures.
The volume contains an Author and
Subject Index. The lists of references at
the ends of the chapters follow physiologists’ custom of first page only and no
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london, muscle, illustrated, 472, xvi, istructure, inc, academic, new, page, volume, york, structure, bourne, edited, 1960, function, pres
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