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J Physiol. 1989 Aug;415:433-58.

Intracellular calcium and tension during fatigue in isolated single muscle fibres from Xenopus laevis.

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Department of Physiology, University College, London.

Erratum in

  • J Physiol (Lond) 1990 May;424:563.


1. Single muscle fibres were dissected from Xenopus lumbrical muscles and microinjected with the photoprotein aequorin in order to measure the myoplasmic free calcium concentration ([Ca2+]i). Fatigue was produced by repeated intermittent tetanic stimulation continued until tension had declined to approximately 50% of the initial level. Fibres were then allowed to recover by giving tetani at less frequent intervals. Aequorin light (a measure of [Ca2+]i) and tension were measured during fatiguing stimulation and recovery. 2. During fatiguing stimulation, tetanic tension declined steadily, but peak aequorin light first increased before declining substantially. The largest light signal was about 155% of initial control while at the end of fatiguing stimulation the tetanic light fell to about 14% of control. 3. Fibres showed a characteristic slowing of relaxation in the fatigued state. This was associated with a slowing of the rate of decline of the aequorin light signal. 4. Intracellular acidosis produced by equilibrating the Ringer solution with either 5 or 15% CO2 caused an increase in the light signal associated with a tetanus. Carbon dioxide also caused a reduction of tension and a slowing of relaxation. 5. In vivo pCa-tension curves were constructed by exposing the fibres to a series of K+ concentrations which produced contractures of different sizes. Light and tension were measured during periods when both were relatively stable and the light signal was subsequently converted to pCa. 6. Exposure of fibres to 5 or 15% CO2 caused the pCa-tension curve to be shifted to the right of the control curve. This indicates a reduced Ca2+ sensitivity of the contractile proteins, which is in agreement with results from skinned fibre studies. 7. The pCa-tension points obtained from tetani during the early part of fatiguing stimulation also deviated to the right of the control pCa-tension curve, suggesting a reduced Ca2+ sensitivity of the contractile proteins. At the end of fatiguing stimulation, however, pCa-tension points did not differ greatly from the control pCa-tension curve, suggesting that Ca2+ sensitivity was approximately normal. Thus the reduced [Ca2+]i during tetani at the end of fatiguing stimulation (when tension was reduced to approximately 50%) could explain all of the reduction in tension. 8. After fatiguing stimulation, tension and light recovered monotonically in some fibres; however, in the majority of fibres, tension and light showed a secondary decline followed by a slower recovery (post-contractile depression). 9. During post-contractile depression, caffeine contractures or tetani in the presence of caffeine gave increased aequorin light signals and the tension developed was close to that produced in an unfatigued tetanus.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)

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