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Am J Physiol. 1999 Feb;276(2):C395-403. doi: 10.1152/ajpcell.1999.276.2.C395.

Prolonged contraction-relaxation cycle of fast-twitch muscles in parvalbumin knockout mice.

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Institute of Histology and General Embryology and "Program in Neuroscience," University of Fribourg, CH-1705 Fribourg, Switzerland.


The calcium-binding protein parvalbumin (PV) occurs at high concentrations in fast-contracting vertebrate muscle fibers. Its putative role in facilitating the rapid relaxation of mammalian fast-twitch muscle fibers by acting as a temporary buffer for Ca2+ is still controversial. We generated knockout mice for PV (PV -/-) and compared the Ca2+ transients and the dynamics of contraction of their muscles with those from heterozygous (PV +/-) and wild-type (WT) mice. In the muscles of PV-deficient mice, the decay of intracellular Ca2+ concentration ([Ca2+]i) after 20-ms stimulation was slower compared with WT mice and led to a prolongation of the time required to attain peak twitch tension and to an extension of the half-relaxation time. The integral [Ca2+]i in muscle fibers of PV -/- mice was higher and consequently the force generated during a single twitch was approximately 40% greater than in PV +/- and WT animals. Acceleration of the contraction-relaxation cycle of fast-twitch muscle fibers by PV may confer an advantage in the performance of rapid, phasic movements.

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