The contractile response during steady lengthening of stimulated frog muscle fibres

J Physiol. 1990 Dec;431:141-71. doi: 10.1113/jphysiol.1990.sp018324.


1. Steady lengthenings at different velocities (0.025-1.2 microns/s per half-sarcomere; temperature 2-5.5 degrees C) were imposed on isolated frog muscle fibres at the isometric tetanus plateau by means of a loudspeaker motor. The lengthening at the sarcomere level was measured by means of a striation follower either in fixed-end or in length-clamp mode. The force response was measured by a capacitance gauge transducer (resonance frequency 50 kHz). Preparations showing gross non-homogeneity during lengthening were excluded. 2. A steady tension was in all cases reached after about 20 nm per half-sarcomere of lengthening. Tension during this steady phase rose with speed of elongation up to 0.25-0.4 micron/s per half-sarcomere, when tension was 1.9-2 times isometric tetanic force (T0). Further increase in speed produced only very little increase in the steady tension. 3. During the transitory phase, before steady tension was reached, the tension rose monotonically if speed of lengthening was less than 0.25-0.3 micron/s per half-sarcomere; at higher speed the tension rose above the steady level, reaching a peak when extension was 10-14 nm per half-sarcomere, and then fell to the steady level. Tension at the peak continued to rise with speed of lengthening above 0.3 micron/s per half-sarcomere. 4. During the tension rise within the transitory phase of force response the segment elongated at a speed 15-20% lower than that imposed on the whole fibre, as a consequence of tendon compliance. 5. During the steady phase, non-homogeneity of lengthening speed began above a speed of lengthening which varied from fibre to fibre. At speeds below this value, segments elongated at the same speed as that imposed on the fibre. 6. Tension responses to large step stretches (up to 12 nm per half-sarcomere), applied at the plateau of isometric tetanus, showed that the instantaneous elasticity of contractile machinery is not responsible for the limit in force attained with high-speed lengthening. 7. Instantaneous stiffness was determined during the steady state of force response by superposing small steps (less than 1.5 nm per half-sarcomere) on steady lengthening at different velocities. Stiffness was 10-20% larger during lengthening than at the plateau of isometric tetanus and remained practically constant, independent of lengthening velocity, in the range of velocities used. 8. The results indicate that steady lengthening of a tetanized fibre induces a cross-bridge cycle characterized by fast detachment of the cross-bridge extended beyond a critical level.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Elasticity
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Isometric Contraction / physiology
  • Muscle Contraction / physiology*
  • Muscles / physiology*
  • Rana esculenta
  • Sarcomeres / physiology
  • Time Factors