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J Physiol. 1992 Aug;454:619-42.

An internal viscous element limits unloaded velocity of sarcomere shortening in rat myocardium.

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Department of Medicine, University of Calgary, Alberta, Canada.


1. Peak twitch force (F0) and sarcomere length (SL) were measured in trabeculae that had been dissected from the right ventricle of rat heart and that were superfused with a modified Krebs-Henseleit solution at 25 degrees C. Sarcomere length was measured by laser diffraction techniques. Force was measured with a silicone strain gauge. Unloaded velocity of sarcomere shortening (V0) was measured by the 'isovelocity release' technique. 2. At [Ca2+]o = 1.5 mM and SL below 1.9 microns, V0 increased in proportion to SL, while V0 was independent of SL above 1.9 microns. At [Ca2+]o = 0.5 mM, V0 was proportional to SL up to 2.2 microns. At [Ca2+]o = 0.2 mM, V0 was proportional to SL up to 2.3 microns which is the longest SL that we were able to study in our trabeculae. 3. A unique relationship was observed between V0 and F0, irrespective of whether F0 was altered by variation of [Ca2+]o or sarcomere length above slack length. 4. Passive viscosity (Fv) was measured during the pause between contractions in the presence of 1.5 mM [Ca2+bdo and in the range SL = 2.0-2.1 microns by applying 0.1 micron stretches at various velocities up to v = 30 microns s-1. The force response to stretch, corrected for the contribution of parallel elastic force, showed viscoelastic characteristics with an exponential increase to a maximum (Fv) during stretch and an exponential decline after the end of the stretch. Fv increased, by 0.3%F0 microns-1 s-1, in proportion to v < 5 microns s-1; the increase of Fv was smaller at higher v, suggesting non-Newtonian viscous properties. 5. The time constant of the increase of force during the stretch decreased (tau rise congruent to 7 ms to tau rise congruent to 4 ms) with increases in v (congruent to 4 microns s-1 to v congruent to 10 microns s-1; P = 0.02). The time constant of decay of force at the end of the stretch also decreased with increases in v (tau decay congruent to 8 ms at v congruent to 4 microns s-1 to tau decay congruent to 3 ms at v congruent to 30 microns s-1; P < 0.001). Calculated stiffness of the elastic term of the viscoelastic element was independent of v, i.e. 45-50 N mm-3.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS).

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