The aim of this study was to analyze the presence and distribution of total collagen, type I and type III collagen, elastic fibers, fibronectin, and versican in the endomysium of cricopharyngeus muscles from adults of various ages. The study was a cross-sectional analysis of human cricopharyngeus muscles. Twenty-seven muscles obtained from autopsies of men and women ranging in age from 28 to 92 years were analyzed with the Picrosirius method, oxidized Weigert resorcin-fuchsin, immunohistochemistry, and image analysis. Collagen had the highest density among the analyzed components. Elastic fibers surrounded each muscle cell; they were aligned longitudinally by their long axis and associated with traversing fibers, thereby forming a fiber network with embedded muscle cells. The fibronectin and versican contents varied widely among the specimens. We found no statistically significant differences between the proportion of extracellular matrix (ECM) components and factors such as gender and race. We conclude that the higher proportion of type I and type III collagen is compatible with the cricopharyngeus muscle’s sphincteric behavior, and the arrangement of the elastic fibers may also contribute to the muscle’s elasticity. We found no statistically significant correlation between the ECM components and age.
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We thank the autopsy assistants of the SVOC-USP who helped gather the study material, and we thank Angela Batista Gomes dos Santos and Maria Cristina Rodrigues Medeiros for their support in the immunohistochemical procedures. This work was supported by FAPESP (São Paulo State Research Agency—Brazil) and CNPq (National Council for Scientific and Technological Department—Brazil).
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