Ronald A. Bergman, Ph.D., Adel K. Afifi, M.D., Paul M. Heidger,
Peer Review Status: Externally Peer Reviewed
Human, Zenker's fluid, phosphotungstic acid hematoxylin stain, 162 x.
Muscle fibers: Each 9 to 22 µm in diameter, serially arranged in columns with short branches contacting adjacent fibers.
Branching fibers: Characteristic of cardiac muscle fibers. Each branching fiber limited by an intercalated disc constitutes a single muscle fiber. See also Plate 80.
Striations: A and I bands. A bands are usually inconspicuous. Z lines are particularly prominent. Contractile apparatus and cross striations, although not usually stained well in cardiac muscle, are similar to those found in skeletal muscle (see Plates 65, 66 and 67).
Intercalated disc: Site of termination and junction of adjacent cardiac muscle fibers. Consists of snugly fit projections and indentations of adjacent cell membranes. Intercalated discs are the sites of transmission of excitatory impulses from cell to cell and provide firm attachment for contiguous fibers. The stain used in this preparation is particularly useful for demonstrating intercalated discs.
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