Relating myocardial laminar architecture to shear strain and muscle fiber orientation

T. Arts, K. D. Costa, J. W. Covell, A. D. McCulloch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

138 Scopus citations


Cardiac myofibers are organized into laminar sheets about four cells thick. Recently, it has been suggested that these layers coincide with the plane of maximum shear during systole. In general, there are two such planes, which are oriented at ±45° to the main principal strain axes. These planes do not necessarily contain the fiber axis. In the present study, we explicitly added the constraint that the sheet planes should also contain the muscle fiber axis. In a mathematical analysis of previously measured three-dimensional transmural systolic strain distributions in six dogs, we computed the planes of maximum shear, adding the latter constraint by using the also-measured muscle fiber axis. Generally, for such planes two solutions were found, suggesting that two populations of sheet orientation may exist. The angles at which the predicted sheets intersected transmural tissue slices, cut along left ventricular short- or long-axis planes, were strikingly similar to experimentally measured values. In conclusion, sheets coincide with planes of maximum systolic shear subject to the constraint that the muscle fiber axis is contained in this plane. Sheet orientation is not a unique function of the transmural location but occurs in two distinct populations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)H2222-H2229
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology
Issue number5 49-5
StatePublished - May 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Canine
  • Cardiac mechanics
  • Sheets
  • Three-dimensional
  • Transmural


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