Architectural and histochemical analysis of the biceps brachii muscle of the horse

Acta Anat (Basel). 1990;137(2):146-56. doi: 10.1159/000146875.


The biceps brachii of horses is a complex muscle subdivided into two heads which may subserve distinct functions. The lateral head contains a large percentage of type I myofibers. This region is largely composed of short fibers (5-7 mm long) arranged in a pinnate fashion and heavily invested with connective tissue. The medial head contains fewer type I fibers and is composed of relatively longer myofibers (15-20 mm long), also arranged in a pinnate fashion but less heavily invested with connective tissue. It is hypothesized that the lateral muscle head of biceps brachii contributes to the postural role of the muscle in the forelimb passive stay apparatus. The medial head, with its longer fibers and generally fast fiber population may be most important during dynamic activity such as walking, trotting and running.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Forelimb
  • Glycerolphosphate Dehydrogenase / metabolism
  • Histocytochemistry
  • Horses / anatomy & histology*
  • Horses / metabolism
  • Muscles / anatomy & histology*
  • Muscles / enzymology
  • NADH Tetrazolium Reductase / metabolism
  • Staining and Labeling


  • Glycerolphosphate Dehydrogenase
  • NADH Tetrazolium Reductase