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Biophys J. 1992 Jul;63(1):224-34.

Excitation-contraction coupling in intact frog skeletal muscle fibers injected with mmolar concentrations of fura-2.

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  • 1Department of Physiology, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia 19104-6085.


Experiments were carried out to test the hypothesis that mM concentrations of fura-2, a high-affinity Ca2+ buffer, inhibit the release of Ca2+ from the sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR) of skeletal muscle fibers. Intact twitch fibers from frog muscle, stretched to a long sarcomere length and pressure-injected with fura-2, were activated by an action potential. Fura-2's absorbance and fluorescence signals were measured at different distances from the site of fura-2 injection; thus, the myoplasmic free Ca2+ transient (delta [Ca2+]) and the amount and rate of SR Ca2+ release could be estimated at different myoplasmic concentrations of fura-2 ([fura-2T]). At [fura-2T] = 2-3 mM, the amplitude and half-width of delta [Ca2+] were reduced to approximately 25% of the values measured at [fura-2T] less than 0.15 mM, whereas the amount and rate of SR Ca2+ release were enhanced by approximately 50% (n = 5; 16 degrees C). Similar results were observed in experiments carried out at low temperature (n = 2; 8.5-10.5 degrees C). The finding of an enhanced rate of Ca2+ release at 2-3 mM [fura-2T] is opposite to that reported by Jacquemond et al. (Jacquemond, V., L. Csernoch, M. G. Klein, and M. F. Schneider. 1991. Biophys. J. 60:867-873) from analogous experiments carried out on cut fibers. In two experiments involving the injection of larger amounts of fura-2, reductions in SR Ca2+ release were observed; however, we were unable to decide whether these reductions were due to [fura-2T] or to some nonspecific effect of the injection itself. These experiments do, however, suggest that if large [fura-2T] inhibits SR Ca2+ release in intact fibers, [fura-2T] must exceed 6 mM to produce an effect comparable to that reported by Jacquemond et al. in cut fibers. Our clear experimental result that 2-3 mM [fura-2T] enhances SR Ca2+ release supports the proposal that delta [Ca2+] triggered by an action potential normally feeds back to inhibit further release of Ca2+ from the SR (Baylor, S.M., and S. Hollingworth. 1988. J. Physiol. [Lond.]. 403:151-192). Our results provide no support for the hypothesis that Ca(2+)-induced Ca2+ release plays a significant role in excitation-contraction coupling in amphibian skeletal muscle.

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