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Exerc Sport Sci Rev. 1985;13:33-74.

Energetic aspects of skeletal muscle contraction: implications of fiber types.


In this chapter fundamental energetic properties of skeletal muscles as elucidated from isolated muscle preparations are described. Implications of these intrinsic properties for the energetic characterization of different fiber types and for the understanding of locomotion have been considered. Emphasis was placed on the myriad of physical and chemical techniques that can be employed to understand muscle energetics and on the interrelationship of results from different techniques. The anaerobic initial processes which liberate energy during contraction and relaxation are discussed in detail. The high-energy phosphate (approximately P) utilized during contraction and relaxation can be distributed between actomyosin ATPase or cross-bridge cycling (70%) and the Ca2+ ATPase of the sacroplasmic reticulum (30%). Muscle shortening increases the rate of approximately P hydrolysis, and stretching a muscle during contraction suppresses the rate of approximately P hydrolysis. The economy of an isometric contraction is defined as the ratio of isometric mechanical response to energetic cost and is shown to be a fundamental intrinsic parameter describing muscle energetics. Economy of contraction varies across the animal kingdom by over three orders of magnitude and is different in different mammalian fiber types. In mammalian skeletal muscles differences in economy of contraction can be attributed mainly to differences in the specific actomyosin and Ca2+ ATPase of muscles. Furthermore, there is an inverse relationship between economy of contraction and maximum velocity of muscle shortening (Vmax) and maximum power output. This is a fundamental relationship. Muscles cannot be economical at developing and maintaining force and also exhibit rapid shortening. Interestingly, there appears to be a subtle system of unknown nature that modulates the Vmax and economy of contraction. Efficiency of a work-producing contraction is defined and contrasted to the economy of contraction. Unlike economy, maximum efficiency of work production varies little across the animal kingdom. There are difficulties associated with the measurement of maximum efficiency of contraction, and it has yet to be determined unequivocally if the maximum efficiency of contraction varies in different fiber types. The intrinsic properties of force per cross-sectional area, economy, and Vmax determine the basic energetic properties of skeletal muscles. Nonetheless, the mechanics and energetics of skeletal muscles in the body are profoundly influenced by muscle architecture, attachment of muscles to the skeleton, and motor unit organization.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS).

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