Structure and function of the skeletal muscle extracellular matrix

Allison R. Gillies, Richard L. Lieber

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

660 Scopus citations


ABSTRACT: The skeletal muscle extracellular matrix (ECM) plays an important role in muscle fiber force transmission, maintenance, and repair. In both injured and diseased states, ECM adapts dramatically, a property that has clinical manifestations and alters muscle function. Here we review the structure, composition, and mechanical properties of skeletal muscle ECM; describe the cells that contribute to the maintenance of the ECM; and, finally, overview changes that occur with pathology. New scanning electron micrographs of ECM structure are also presented with hypotheses about ECM structure-function relationships. Detailed structure-function relationships of the ECM have yet to be defined and, as a result, we propose areas for future study.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)318-331
Number of pages14
JournalMuscle and Nerve
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2011


  • Biomechanics
  • Collagen
  • Extracellular matrix
  • Fibrosis
  • Skeletal muscle

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Physiology (medical)
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Physiology


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