Cardiac Corpuscles: A “New” Morphofunctional Entity?

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Adriano Ferreira da Silva; Patrick William Frank; Carlos Augusto Camargo de Souza Baptista; José Antonio Franchini Ramires & Edson Aparecido Liberti


The existence of “transitional muscular structures” between subendocardial branches (Purkinje fibers) and ventricular working muscle fibers (WF) was first described by the German anatomist, Kurt Goerttler, in 1964. He designated them as “subendocardial nucleus organs.” He supposed such fibers functioned as mechanoreceptors, controlling of the intensity of contraction of the ventricular musculature. Brazilian anatomist Ferraz de Carvalho described similar structures in 1993. A thorough literature search failed to identify any other research articles confirming or denying their existence. The objective of this work was to find such structures in subendocardial ventricular walls in human hearts. We collected fifteen formalin-preserved hearts from the Anatomy Department of São Paulo University and sectioned the apical portions on the right and left ventricles according to method used by Goerttler. We utilized conventional histology (light microscopy- LM), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), and a new preservation method called micro- plastination (MP). At the anterior wall of the right ventricle in the subendocardial region between the interventricular septum and moderator band, we found several bundles of fusiform and helicoidal fibers of similar histology to the WF. The bundles measured between 400 and 1150 μm in length and were separated from adjacent muscular fibers by thin collagen fiber, thus acting as a “pseudo capsule.” Some structures seemed to be linked to PF and were appeared to be lymphatic and blood vessels and nerves. We called those structures “cardiac corpuscles” (CC). The observation of the previously “unknown” CC in this initial study confirmed the previous descriptions and its discovery may contribute to new perspectives in the study of cardiac muscle structure and function.

KEY WORDS: Anatomy; Ventricular myocardium; Subendocardial region; Cardiac corpuscles; Subendocardial branches; Purkinje fibers; Working ventricular muscle fibers.

How to cite this article

DA SILVA, A. F.; FRANK, P. W.; BAPTISTA, C. A. C. S.; RAMIRES, J. A. F. & LIBERTI, J. A. F. Cardiac corpuscles: a “new” morphofunctional entity?. Int. J. Morphol., 41(4):1058-1065, 2023.