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Compr Physiol. 2015 Apr;5(2):961-95. doi: 10.1002/cphy.c140038.

Energetics of contraction.

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School of Allied Health Sciences/Griffith Health Institute, Griffith University, Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia.


Muscles convert energy from ATP into useful work, which can be used to move limbs and to transport ions across membranes. The energy not converted into work appears as heat. At the start of contraction heat is also produced when Ca(2+) binds to troponin-C and to parvalbumin. Muscles use ATP throughout an isometric contraction at a rate that depends on duration of stimulation, muscle type, temperature and muscle length. Between 30% and 40% of the ATP used during isometric contraction fuels the pumping Ca(2+) and Na(+) out of the myoplasm. When shortening, muscles produce less force than in an isometric contraction but use ATP at a higher rate and when lengthening force output is higher than the isometric force but rate of ATP splitting is lower. Efficiency quantifies the fraction of the energy provided by ATP that is converted into external work. Each ATP molecule provides 100 zJ of energy that can potentially be converted into work. The mechanics of the myosin cross-bridge are such that at most 50 zJ of work can be done in one ATP consuming cycle; that is, the maximum efficiency of a cross-bridge is ∼50%. Cross-bridges in tortoise muscle approach this limit, producing over 90% of the possible work per cycle. Other muscles are less efficient but contract more rapidly and produce more power.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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