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Toxicon. 1990;28(10):1229-36.

The augmenting action of banana tree juice on skeletal muscle contraction.

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Department of Pharmacology, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada.


An extract obtained from juice expressed from the stem of the plantain banana tree (Musa sapientum L., var. paradisiaca) induces twitch augmentation in skeletal muscles. The mechanism of this action was investigated in the mouse hemi-diaphragm preparation. Directly evoked twitches and potassium induced (K+) contractures were both augmented by the extract. Twitch augmentation was partly dependent on extracellular Ca2+. The action on K(+)-contractures was unaffected by tetrodotoxin, but the rate of relaxation was enhanced in the absence of extracellular calcium (0[Ca2+]o). Muscle contracture induced by high concentrations of extract was also augmented in 0[Ca2+]o and in the presence of the Ca2(+)-channel blocking agent, nifedipine. The time course of the contracture was shortened in 0[Ca2+]o, but not by nifedipine. Nifedipine enhanced the augmenting effect of the extract on twitches but shortened the time-course of this action. In addition, a muscle contracture was superimposed on the twitching muscle at higher concentrations of nifedipine. Manganese, on the other hand, reduced or abolished the augmenting action of the extract. The results are consistent with an action of banana tree juice on the molecule responsible for excitation-contraction coupling in skeletal muscle, resulting in a labilization of intracellular Ca2+.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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