Neuromuscular organization of feline anterior sartorius: I. Asymmetric distribution of motor units

J Morphol. 1991 Nov;210(2):147-62. doi: 10.1002/jmor.1052100205.


The neuromuscular organization of feline anterior sartorius was examined using three experimental approaches. First, the branching pattern of the nerve supplying anterior sartorius was inspected in muscles taken from a large number of feline cadavers. All muscles were found to be supplied by two major nerve branches, one directed proximally and the other directed distally, and most muscles (42/51) had a third distinct branch that entered the muscle centrally. Second, the motoneuronal populations supplying the three nerve branches were investigated by electrophysiological techniques. Motoneurons that supplied axons to the distally-directed branch did not appear to have collaterals in more proximally-located branches. In contrast, other motoneurons supplying the proximally-directed branch also appeared to supply axon collaterals to the centrally-directed branch. This result suggested that the motoneuronal population of the distally-directed branch was largely separate from that supplying the proximally- and centrally-directed branches. Third, the motor unit territories supplied by different nerve branches were mapped using glycogen-depletion methods. Muscle fibers supplied by the distally-directed nerve branch were mostly distributed to the medial portion of anterior sartorius, whereas the fibers supplied by the other two branches were generally found more anteriorly. Further, the muscle fibers supplied by an individual nerve branch were present in greater numbers at the end of the muscle closest to the entry point of that branch. Thus, the motor units supplied by discrete nerve branches were found to be distributed asymmetrically within anterior sartorius, but were arranged neither strictly in-parallel nor strictly in-series.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenosine Triphosphatases / analysis
  • Animals
  • Cats
  • Electrophysiology
  • Glycogen / analysis
  • Hindlimb
  • Laminectomy
  • Motor Neurons / physiology*
  • Muscles / chemistry
  • Muscles / innervation*
  • Muscles / physiology


  • Glycogen
  • Adenosine Triphosphatases