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Am J Physiol. 1988 Sep;255(3 Pt 2):H467-75.

Myocardial sarcolemma in ischemia: a quantitative freeze-fracture study.

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Department of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles School of Medicine 90024-1760.


Freeze-fracture electron microscopy permits the visualization of the intramembrane particles (IMP). These IMPs are presumably proteins responsible for the main functions of the membrane. Quantitative techniques (Clark-Evan statistics) were applied to determine in a critical manner whether IMP pattern shifts (random, clustered, or ordered) occur under the ischemic conditions (5-45 min with and without reperfusion) and whether this change is related to the experimental condition. In each case three hearts, eight replicas/heart, one area of 0.25 micron 2 of membrane fracture face/replica was measured to give a total of 6 micron 2 of membrane counted for each condition (control vs. ischemic). A mixed effects nested model analysis of variance was performed in each variable. We found that IMP aggregation can be present in some control membranes, but the degree of aggregation was greater and more consistent in membranes made ischemic and followed by reperfusion. Most striking was the significant clustering of IMPs in membranes from hearts ischemic for only 5 min. Reperfusion after only 5 min of ischemia reversed IMP clustering. Functionally at this time there is an increase in K+ concentration in the interstitial space that reaches approximately 15 mM within 10 min and reverses on reperfusion. The structural alteration in IMPs appears to parallel the function in ischemic hearts.

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