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Henry Gray (1825–1861).  Anatomy of the Human Body.  1918.
 
to the inner surface of the heart; it assists in forming the valves by its reduplications, and is continuous with the lining membrane of the large bloodvessels. It consists of connective tissue and elastic fibers, and is attached to the muscular structure by loose elastic tissue which contains bloodvessels and nerves; its free surface is covered by endothelial cells.
  The fibrous rings surround the atrioventricular and arterial orifices, and are stronger upon the left than on the right side of the heart. The atrioventricular rings serve for the attachment of the muscular fibers of the atria and ventricles, and for the attachment of the bicuspid and tricuspid valves. The left atrioventricular ring is closely connected, by its right margin, with the aortic arterial ring; between these and the right atrioventricular ring is a triangular mass of fibrous tissue, the trigonum fibrosum, which represents the os cordis seen in the heart of some of the larger animals, as the ox and elephant. Lastly, there is the tendinous band, already referred to, the posterior surface of the conus arteriosus.
  The fibrous rings surrounding the arterial orifices serve for the attachment of the great vessels and semilunar valves. Each ring receives, by its ventricular margin, the attachment of some of the muscular fibers of the ventricles; its opposite margin presents three deep semicircular notches, to which the middle coat of the artery is firmly fixed. The attachment of the artery to its fibrous ring is strengthened by the external coat and serous membrane externally, and by the endocardium internally. From the margins of the semicircular notches the fibrous structure of the ring is continued into the segments of the valves. The middle coat of the artery in this situation is thin, and the vessel is dilated to form the sinuses of the aorta and pulmonary artery.


FIG. 499– Anastomosing muscular fibers of the heart seen in a longitudinal section. On the right the limits of the separate cells with their nuclei are exhibited somewhat diagrammatically. (See enlarged image)



FIG. 500– Purkinje’s fibers from the sheep’s heart. A. In longitudinal section. B. In transverse section. (See enlarged image)


Cardiac Muscular Tissue.—The fibers of the heart differ very remarkably from those of other striped muscles. They are smaller by one-third, and their transverse striæ are by no means so well-marked. They show faint longitudinal striation. The fibers are made up of distinct quadrangular cells, joined end to end so as to form a syncytium (Fig. 499). Each cell contains a clear oval nucleus, situated near its center. The extremities of the cells have a tendency to branch or divide, the subdivisions uniting with offsets from other cells, and thus producing an anastomosis of the fibers. The connective tissue between the bundles of fibers is much less than in ordinary striped muscle, and no sarcolemma has been proved to exist.

Purkinje Fibers (Fig. 500).—Between the endocardium and the ordinary cardiac muscle are found, imbedded in a small amount of connective tissue, peculiar fibers known as Purkinje fibers. They are found in certain mammals and in birds, and can be best seen in the sheep’s heart, where

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