Collagen fibrils -(reticular fibers)

Sarcolemma' Endomysium' , t

Nucleus Myofibril

Mitochondrion x 3000



Sarcoplasmic reticulum

Thick filaments in myofibril x 15,000

Figure 1. Gross and ultrastructural anatomy of the sheep semitendinosus muscle, (a) The semitendinosus muscle lies caudally in the thigh region, (b) Seen grossly in transverse section, perimysial strands course through the muscle and enclose muscle fiber bundles, (c) Within a bundle, an endomysial connective tissue network is revealed by light microscopy to surround individual muscle fibers, (d) Electronmicroscopic examination shows a network of sarcoplasmic reticulum enclosing myofibrils within the fibers. The two complete fibers drawn sectioned here sire smaller in scale than actual fibers in the sheep semitendinosus muscle, (e) At a still higher magnification, a pattern of thick filaments is visible within each myofibril. Source: Ref. 1, used with permission.

Muscle Connective Tissue and Collagen Types

Each bundle of muscle fibers is surrounded by a connective tissue sheath, the epimysium, which makes the body of the muscle look like it is made up of strands. Smaller units of connective tissue associated with blood vessels and nerves within the epimysium are termed perimysium, and the feltlike connective tissue sheath around a single fiber (the muscle cell) is termed the endomysium. The types of col lagen and their arrangement around muscle fibers have been described (2), and the different arrangement underlies the differences in the various meat cuts. Collagen is discussed later in this article.

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