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Triangularis sterni: a primary muscle of breathing in the dog

Journal of Applied Physiology 60(1): 14-21
Triangularis sterni: a primary muscle of breathing in the dog
The isolated action, pattern of neural activation, and mechanical contribution to eupnea of the triangularis sterni (transversus thoracis) muscle were studied in supine anesthetized dogs. Linear displacement transducers were used to measure the axial displacements of the ribs and sternum. Tetanic stimulation of the triangularis sterni in the apneic animal caused a marked caudal displacement of the ribs, a moderate cranial displacement of the sternum, and a decrease in lung volume. During quiet breathing, there was invariably a rhythmic activation of the muscle in phase with expiration that was independent of the presence or absence of activity in the abdominal and internal interosseous intercostal muscles. This phasic expiratory activity in the triangularis sterni was of large amplitude and caused the ribs to be more caudal and the sternum to be more cranial during the spontaneous expiratory pause than during relaxation. Additional studies on awake animals showed that rhythmic activation of the triangularis sterni occurs in all body positions and is not caused by anesthesia. These findings indicate that expiration in the dog is not a passive process and that the end-expiratory volume of the rib cage is not determined by an equilibrium of static forces alone. Rather, it is actively determined and maintained below its relaxation volume by contraction of the triangularis sterni throughout expiration. The use of this muscle is likely to facilitate inspiration by increasing the length of the parasternal intercostals and taking on a portion of their work.

Accession: 006840714

PMID: 3944024

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