Compartmentalized innervation of primate lateral rectus muscle

Michelle Peng, Vadims Poukens, Roberta Martins da Silva Costa, Lawrence Yoo, Lawrence Tychsen, Joseph L. Demer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Scopus citations


PURPOSE. Skeletal and craniofacial muscles are frequently composed of multiple neuromuscular compartments that serve different physiological functions. Evidence of possible regional selectivity in LR intramuscular innervation was sought in a study of the anatomic potential of lateral rectus (LR) muscle compartmentalization. METHODS. Whole orbits of two humans and five macaque monkeys were serially sectioned at 10-m thickness and stained with Masson trichrome. The abducens nerve CN6) was traced anteriorly from the deep orbit as it branched to enter the LR and arborized among extraocular muscle (EOM) fibers. Threedimensional reconstruction was performed in human and monkey orbits. RESULTS. Findings were in concordance in the monkey and human orbits. External to the LR global surface, CN6 bifurcated into approximately equal-sized trunks before entering the global layer. Subsequent arborization showed a systematic topography, entering a well-defined inferior zone 0.4 to 2.5 mm more posteriorly than branches entering the largely nonoverlapping superior zone. Zonal innervation remained segregated anteriorly and laterally within the LR. CONCLUSIONS. Consistent segregation of intramuscular CN6 arborization in humans and monkeys suggests functionally distinct superior and inferior zones for the LR. Since the LR is shaped as a broad vertical strap, segregated control of the two zones could activate them separately, potentially mediating previously unappreciated but substantial torsional and vertical oculorotary LR actions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4612-4617
Number of pages6
JournalInvestigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2010


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