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Muscle–tendon arrangement and intramuscular nerve distribution of flexor digitorum superficialis in the siamang (Symphalangus syndactylus), western lowland gorilla (Gorilla gorilla gorilla), western chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes verus), and Japanese macaque (Macaca fuscata)

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Abstract

Flexor digitorum superficialis (FDS) shows diverse muscle–tendon arrangements among primates. The intramuscular nerve distribution pattern is a criterion for discussing the homology of FDS. In this study, the muscle–tendon arrangement and intramuscular nerve distribution of FDS were examined in the siamang, western lowland gorilla, western chimpanzee, and Japanese macaques. The FDS had muscle bellies to digits II–V. FDS had proximal belly and intermediate tendon except for siamang. Distal belly to digit II (in the western lowland gorilla and western chimpanzees) or distal bellies to digits II and V (in Japanese macaque) originated from the intermediate tendon. In all specimens, nerve branches within digit III belly extended into digit IV belly, and nerve branch(es) within digit IV belly extended into digit V belly. This consistent pattern suggested that each muscle belly to digits III–V is interspecifically homologous. The digit II belly in the siamang and the distal belly to digit II in the western lowland gorilla, western chimpanzees, and Japanese macaques could be homologous based on their similar innervating patterns. The proximal belly was innervated by branches from the communicating nerve between median and ulnar nerves in the western lowland gorilla or branches from median and ulnar nerves in western chimpanzees. In the siamang and Japanese macaque, the whole FDS was innervated by median nerve. The proximal belly in the western lowland gorilla, western chimpanzees, and Japanese macaques could be classified into different groups from the other part of the FDS.

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Data availability

The data that support the findings of this study are available as supplementary figures.

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Acknowledgements

This study was supported by JSPS KAKENHI (Grant number: 19K19894) and the Cooperative Research Program (Grant numbers: 2019-B-64, 2020-B-36, 2021-B-69) of Primate Research Institute, Kyoto University. The authors thank the staff of Yagiyama Zoological Park, Kumamoto City Zoological and Botanical Gardens, Kumamoto Sanctuary of Kyoto University, and the Great Ape Information Network for the great ape materials. The permission to use the materials were obtained from the Primate Research Institute, Kyoto University. The authors declare no conflict of interest.

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KE dissected all specimens, collected all data, and wrote the first draft of manuscript. TA and EH gave critical revision of the manuscript. EH selected and prepared specimens for this study.

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Correspondence to Kenji Emura.

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Emura, K., Hirasaki, E. & Arakawa, T. Muscle–tendon arrangement and intramuscular nerve distribution of flexor digitorum superficialis in the siamang (Symphalangus syndactylus), western lowland gorilla (Gorilla gorilla gorilla), western chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes verus), and Japanese macaque (Macaca fuscata). Anat Sci Int 98, 493–505 (2023). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12565-023-00713-x

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