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Participation of ventral and dorsal tail muscles in bending movements of rat tail


The rat controls the form of its tail, from straight to curved, by contraction and relaxation of its four tail muscles. The tendons of these muscles insert on any of the cranial articular, transverse, and hemal processes of each of 24 coccygeal vertebrae (Co5–Co28). In this study, we isolated for the four coccygeal muscles each muscular fascicle segment inserting on any process of the coccygeal vertebrae. We measured the length and weight of all muscular fascicles and tendons, and then divided all muscular fascicles into four groups based on their insertion: Co5–Co10, Co11–Co16, Co17–Co22, and Co23–Co28. Moreover, we used soft X-ray imaging to investigate the geometrical relationship between neighboring coccygeal vertebrae. Additionally we carried out serial sectioning at the sacral and caudal portions, and traced the course of the tendons of coccygeal muscles from their origin to the Co4 level. We discuss which muscles and tendons play important roles when coccygeal vertebrae bend along and rotate around the longitudinal axis.

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Correspondence to Hideaki Hori.

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Hori, H., Fukutani, T., Nakane, H. et al. Participation of ventral and dorsal tail muscles in bending movements of rat tail. Anat Sci Int 86, 194–203 (2011).

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  • Tail muscles
  • Muscular fascicle segment
  • Length and weight of muscular fascicle segment
  • Tail movement
  • Rat