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Pflugers Arch. 1995 Oct;430(6):909-15.

Relation between extracellular [K+], membrane potential and contraction in rat soleus muscle: modulation by the Na+-K+ pump.

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Institute of Physiology, University of Aarhus, DK-8000 Arhus-C, Denmark.


An increased extracellular K+ concentration ([K+]0) is thought to cause muscle fatigue. We studied the effects of increasing [K+]0 from 4mM to 8-14mM on tetanic contractions in isolated bundles of fibres and whole soleus muscles from the rat. Whereas there was little depression of force at a [K+]0 of 8-9mM, a further small increase in [K+]0 to 11-14mM resulted in a large reduction of force. Tetanus depression at 11mM [K+]0 was increased when using weaker stimulation pulses and decreased with stronger pulses. Whereas the tetanic force/resting membrane potential (EM) relation showed only moderate force depression with depolarization from -74 to -62mV, a large reduction of force occurred when EM fell to-53mV. The implications of these relations to fatigue are discussed. Partial inhibition of the Na+-K+ pump with ouabain (10(-6 )M) caused additional force loss at 11mM [K+]0. Salbutamol, insulin, or calcitonin gene-related peptide all stimulated the Na+-K+ pump in muscles exposed to 11mM [K+]0 and induced an average 26-33% recovery of tetanic force. When using stimulation pulses of 0.1ms, instead of the standard 1.0-ms pulses, force recovery with these agents was 41-44% which was significantly greater (P < 0.025). Only salbutamol caused any recovery of EM (1.3mV). The observations suggest that the increased Na+ concentration difference across the sarcolemma, following Na+-K+ pump stimulation, has an important role in restoring excitability and force.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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