Cross-bridge cycling theories cannot explain high-speed lengthening behavior in frog muscle

Biophys J. 1990 Feb;57(2):201-8. doi: 10.1016/S0006-3495(90)82523-6.


The Huxley 1957 model of cross-bridge cycling accounts for the shortening force-velocity curve of striated muscle with great precision. For forced lengthening, however, the model diverges from experimental results. This paper examines whether it is possible to bring the model into better agreement with experiments, and if so what must be assumed about the mechanical capabilities of cross-bridges. Of particular interest is how introduction of a maximum allowable cross-bridge strain, as has been suggested by some experiments, affects the predictions of the model. Because some differences in the models are apparent only at high stretch velocities, we acquired new force-velocity data to permit a comparison with experiment. Using whole, isolated frog sartorius muscles at 2 degrees C, we stretched active muscle at speeds up to and exceeding 2 Vmax. Force during stretch was always greater than the peak isometric level, even during the fastest stretches, and was approximately independent of velocity for stretches faster than 0.5 Vmax. Although certain modifications to the model brought it into closer correspondence with the experiments, the accompanying requirements on cross-bridge extensibility were unreasonable. We suggest (both in this paper and the one that follows) that sarcomere inhomogeneities, which have been implicated in such phenomena as "tension creep" and "permanent extra tension," may also play an important role in determining the basic force-velocity characteristics of muscle.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Computer Simulation
  • Electric Stimulation
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Kinetics
  • Mathematics
  • Models, Biological*
  • Muscle Contraction*
  • Muscle Relaxation*
  • Muscles / physiology*
  • Rana pipiens