Architecture and fiber type of the pyramidalis muscle
The paired pyramidalis muscles are small triangular-shaped muscles that lie between the anterior surface of the rectus abdominus and the posterior surface of the rectus sheath. The precise function of pyramidalis muscles is unclear, but together the muscles are thought to tense the linea alba. The muscles are not always present, or are often unilateral, and vary greatly in size. Their wider inferior margins attach to the pubic symphyses and pubic crests, whereas their narrow superior margins attach to the linea alba. The gross anatomy and innervation of the pyramidalis muscles has been described by others, but their architecture and fiber type have not been determined in previous publications. The purpose of the present paper was therefore to investigate these parameters and place the findings into context for the literature available on this muscle. An example of bilateral pyramidalis muscles was recently encountered in a male cadaver that provided ample tissue for an analysis of its architecture and fiber type. The muscle mass, muscle length, fiber length, and pennation angle of muscle fibers were measured to ascertain physiological cross-sectional area and thereby estimate force production. Fiber type composition was also examined using immunofluorescent labeling. The results show that this is a muscle of mixed fiber type composition, similar to the rectus abdominus, and that the estimated forces generated by this muscle are relatively small.