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Biophys J. 1998 Nov;75(5):2402-10.

Voltage-dependent calcium release in human malignant hyperthermia muscle fibers.

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Abteilung für Angewandte Physiologie, Universität Ulm, D-89069 Ulm, Germany.


Malignant hyperthermia (MH) results from a defect of calcium release control in skeletal muscle that is often caused by point mutations in the ryanodine receptor gene (RYR1). In malignant hyperthermia-susceptible (MHS) muscle, calcium release responds more sensitively to drugs such as halothane and caffeine. In addition, experiments on the porcine homolog of malignant hyperthermia (mutation Arg615Cys in RYR1) indicated a higher sensitivity to membrane depolarization. Here, we investigated depolarization-dependent calcium release under voltage clamp conditions in human MHS muscle. Segments of muscle fibers dissected from biopsies of the vastus lateralis muscle of MHN (malignant hyperthermia negative) and MHS subjects were voltage-clamped in a double vaseline gap system. Free calcium was determined with the fluorescent indicator fura-2 and converted to an estimate of the rate of SR calcium release. Both MHN and MHS fibers showed an initial peak of the release rate, a subsequent decline, and rapid turn-off after repolarization. Neither the kinetics nor the voltage dependence of calcium release showed significant deviations from controls, but the average maximal peak rate of release was about threefold larger in MHS fibers.

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