Enlargement of the temporalis muscle and alterations in the lateral cranial vault

Craig D. Byron, Holland Maness, Jack C. Yu, Mark W. Hamrick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


The purpose of this study was to test the hypothesis that increased masticatory muscle accompanied morphologic changes in the temporal bone and squamosal suture. Ten mice deficient for the protein myostatin (Mstn -/-) had significantly increased skeletal muscle mass and were compared with nine controls (Mstn /). Variables measured include linear and areal metrics describing temporal size and temporal bone shape as well as the extent of the area of the squamosal suture that overlaps, or bevels, with parietal bones. Mstn-/- mice showed significantly larger temporalis muscles. Their temporal bones showed significantly decreased size as well as decreased beveling of the squamosal suture. These decreases were absolute as well as relative and were not restricted to either vertical or horizontal axes. The increased masticatory musculature of Myostatin-null mice had a shrinking effect on the temporal aspect of the cranium. These results are inconsistent with the interpretation that increased temporalis mass induces morphologic changes in temporal bone that compensate for putative increases in compressive forces transduced at this region. Rather than increase in the area of overlap between two calvarial bones, potential increase in biomechanical loading along the temporal squama led to a smaller bevel which would presumably weaken this joint. It is unclear why this is so. Either compressive forces are not anabolic to suture beveling or they do upregulate growth of the suture bevel, with compression not being the primary loading regime at this suture.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)338-344
Number of pages7
JournalIntegrative and Comparative Biology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Plant Science


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