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Acta Physiol Scand. 1998 Mar;162(3):229-45.

Events of the excitation-contraction-relaxation (E-C-R) cycle in fast- and slow-twitch mammalian muscle fibres relevant to muscle fatigue.

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  • 1School of Zoology, La Trobe University, Bundoora, Victoria, Australia.


The excitation-contraction-relaxation cycle (E-C-R) in the mammalian twitch muscle comprises the following major events: (1) initiation and propagation of an action potential along the sarcolemma and transverse (T)-tubular system; (2) detection of the T-system depolarization signal and signal transmission from the T-tubule to the sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR) membrane; (3) Ca2+ release from the SR; (4) transient rise of myoplasmic [Ca2+]; (5) transient activation of the Ca2+-regulatory system and of the contractile apparatus; (6) Ca2+ reuptake by the SR Ca2+ pump and Ca2+ binding to myoplasmic sites. There are many steps in the E-C-R cycle which can be seen as potential sites for muscle fatigue and this review explores how structural and functional differences between the fast- and slow-twitch fibres with respect to the E-C-R cycle events can explain to a great extent differences in their fatiguability profiles.

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