Topographical localization of motor endplates in cryosections of whole human muscles

Muscle Nerve. 1984 May;7(4):287-93. doi: 10.1002/mus.880070406.


The distribution of motor endplates in biceps brachii, tibialis anterior, and sartorius muscles from human adults was studied by staining longitudinal cryosections of whole muscle for cholinesterase. A special freezing technique was used to prevent the muscle from cracking before sectioning on a heavy cryostat microtome. The results from a large number of cryosections from biceps brachii and tibialis anterior muscles were analyzed by a computer and the topographical distributions of endplates in different views of the muscles were reconstructed. In the biceps brachii muscle, the endplates formed a fairly distinct, slightly V-shaped band through the middle of the two heads. In the tibialis anterior muscle, the majority of the endplates were superficially distributed along the whole muscle. In the longitudinal sections from the middle part of the muscle, they gave the pattern of a parabola with its apex at the proximal end of the muscle. In the sartorius muscle, the endplates were scattered throughout the muscle and no endplate band was observed. The findings are in accordance with results obtained 30 years ago in investigations of muscle from small children and stillborn infants.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cholinesterases
  • Computers
  • Frozen Sections*
  • Humans
  • Microtomy*
  • Motor Endplate*
  • Muscles / innervation*
  • Neuromuscular Junction*
  • Staining and Labeling


  • Cholinesterases