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J Physiol. 2003 Aug 15;551(Pt 1):179-90. Epub 2003 Jun 18.

Mitochondrial and myoplasmic [Ca2+] in single fibres from mouse limb muscles during repeated tetanic contractions.

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Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, Karolinska Institutet, 171 77 Stockholm, Sweden.


Previous studies on single fast-twitch fibres from mouse toe muscles have shown marked fatigue-induced changes in the free myoplasmic [Ca2+] ([Ca2+]i), while mitochondrial [Ca2+] remained unchanged. We have now investigated whether muscle fibres from the legs of mice respond in a similar way. Intact, single fibres were dissected from the soleus and extensor digitorum longus (EDL) muscles of adult mice. To measure [Ca2+]i, indo-1 was injected into the isolated fibres. Mitochondrial [Ca2+] was measured using Rhod-2 and confocal laser microscopy. Fatigue was induced by up to 1000 tetanic contractions (70 Hz) given at 2 s intervals. In soleus fibres, there was no significant decrease in tetanic [Ca2+]i at the end of the fatiguing stimulation, whereas tetanic force was significantly reduced by about 30 %. In 10 out of 14 soleus fibres loaded with Rhod-2 and subjected to fatigue, mitochondrial [Ca2+] increased to a maximum after about 50 tetani; this increase was fully reversed within 20 min after the end of stimulation. The force-frequency curve of the non-responding soleus fibres was shifted to higher frequencies compared to that of the responding fibres. In addition, eight out of nine Rhod-2-loaded EDL fibres showed similar changes in mitochondrial [Ca2+] during and after a period of fatiguing stimulation. The stimulation-induced increase in mitochondrial [Ca2+] was reduced when mitochondria were depolarised by application of carbonyl cyanide 4-(trifluoromethoxy)phenylhydrazone, whereas it was increased by application of an inhibitor of the mitochondrial Na+/Ca2+ exchange (CGP-37157). In conclusion, isolated slow-twitch muscle fibres show only modest changes in tetanic force and [Ca2+]i during repeated contractions. The increase in mitochondrial Ca2+ does not appear to be essential for activation of mitochondrial ATP production, nor does it cause muscle damage.

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