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Can J Physiol Pharmacol. 1987 Apr;65(4):642-7.

Activation of skinned muscle fibers by calcium and strontium ions.


Intact and mechanically skinned skeletal muscle fibers of the crab Carcinus maenas have been used. The aim of the experiments was to determine the origin of the mechanical activity recorded in intact crab muscle fibers exhibiting an inward strontium current in strontium solution without calcium. To do so, the effect of strontium ions in inducing activation of contractile proteins and calcium release from the sarcoplasmic reticulum has been studied. The properties of the sarcoplasmic reticulum membrane towards strontium ions, i.e., the efficiency of the calcium ATPase towards strontium ions and the capability to release strontium ions have been investigated. Results show that the contractile proteins have a lower affinity for strontium than for calcium ions. However, the maximum bound strontium is identical to the maximum bound calcium. As for the sarcoplasmic reticulum, strontium ions can induce a calcium release and also can be taken up by the calcium ATPase and be released. We concluded that the mechanical activity in intact fibers bathed in a strontium medium has two origins: first, a direct and partial activation of the contractile proteins by strontium ions flowing through the calcium channel; second, a contractile proteins activation of calcium ions released by the sarcoplasmic reticulum by a "strontium-induced calcium release" mechanism.

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