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J Physiol. 2010 Oct 1;588(Pt 19):3657-70. doi: 10.1113/jphysiol.2010.194001.

Force and power generating mechanism(s) in active muscle as revealed from temperature perturbation studies.

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Muscle Contraction Group, Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, School of Medical Sciences, University of Bristol, Bristol BS8 1TD, UK.


The basic characteristics of the process of force and power generation in active muscle that have emerged from temperature studies are examined. This is done by reviewing complementary findings from temperature-dependence studies and rapid temperature-jump (T-jump) experiments and from intact and skinned fast mammalian muscle fibres. In isometric muscle, a small T-jump leads to a characteristic rise in force showing that crossbridge force generation is endothermic (heat absorbed) and associated with increased entropy (disorder). The sensitivity of the T-jump force generation to added inorganic phosphate (Pi) indicates that a T-jump enhances an early step in the actomyosin (crossbridge) ATPase cycle before Pi-release. During muscle lengthening when steady force is increased, the T-jump force generation is inhibited. Conversely, during shortening when steady force is decreased, the T-jump force generation is enhanced in a velocity-dependent manner, showing that T-jump force generation is strain sensitive. Within the temperature range of ∼5–35◦C, the temperature dependence of steady active force is sigmoidal both in isometric and in shortening muscle. However, in shortening muscle, the endothermic character of force generation becomes more pronounced with increased velocity and this can, at least partly, account for the marked increase with warming of the mechanical power output of active muscle.

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