Biomechanical properties and a kinetic simulation model of the smooth muscle I2 in the buccal mass of Aplysia

Biol Cybern. 1999 Nov;81(5-6):505-13. doi: 10.1007/s004220050579.


The muscle I2 is a smooth muscle from the buccal mass of the marine mollusc Aplysia californica whose neural control, in vivo kinematics, and behavioral role have been extensively analyzed. In this study, we measured the activation and contractile dynamics of the muscle in order to construct a Hill-type kinetic model of the muscle. This is the first study to our knowledge, of Aplysia muscle contractile dynamics. The isometric force-frequency relationship of I2 had a frequency threshold of about 6-8 Hz, and its force output saturated at 20-25 Hz, properties that match the high frequency (20 Hz) bursts generated by the B31/B32 neurons that innervate it. Peak isometric force was generated at about 118% of the in situ relaxed length. These results and I2's estimated in vivo kinematics suggest that it generates maximum force at the onset of protraction. The muscle tension during iso-velocity lengthening and shortening was an asymmetric function of velocity. Short range stiffness and yielding responses were observed in lengthening, whereas muscle tension decreased smoothly in shortening. These visco-elastic properties suggest that the I2 muscle can serve to brake forceful retraction movements. A Hill-type model, parameterized from the measurements, captured many of the mechanical properties of I2. Our results provide a quantitative understanding of the biomechanical significance of the muscle's neural control and provide a basis for simulation studies of the control of feeding behavior.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Aplysia / physiology*
  • Behavior, Animal / physiology
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Cheek
  • Cybernetics*
  • Elasticity
  • Electric Stimulation
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Isometric Contraction / physiology
  • Kinetics
  • Models, Biological*
  • Muscle, Smooth / innervation
  • Muscle, Smooth / physiology*
  • Viscosity