Action of dantrolene sodium on single motor units of cat muscle in vivo

Brain Res. 1983 Feb 21;261(2):285-94. doi: 10.1016/0006-8993(83)90631-5.


Dantrolene sodium, a skeletal muscle relaxant, was investigated for its action on single motor units of the peroneus tertius muscle in cats anaesthetized with pentobarbitone sodium. Motor axons were isolated in ventral root filaments and their muscle units were identified as either fast-fatiguable (FF), fast-resistant (FR), fast-intermediate (FI) or slow-resistant (S). Dantrolene sodium (2 mg/kg) was administered intravenously in a solution of 1,2-propanediol. Effects were observed on the twitches, unfused tetanic contractions and maximal tetanic tensions of 78 motor units in 5 experiments. Contractile tension was depressed whereas muscle action potentials appeared unaffected. Maximal tetani were less depressed than unfused tetani and twitches. The reduction of tension was more pronounced for fast (FF, FR and FI) than for slow units. After drug injection, the mean tensions developed at the end of a 3 s period of stimulation at 40/s were: 13.1%, 10.6% and 12.7% of pre-drug control for FF, FR and FI units, respectively, and 67.1% for S units. Upon prolonged stimulation at 40/s fast units depressed by Dantrolene sodium were able to potentiate back to their initial pre-drug tension.

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials / drug effects
  • Animals
  • Cats
  • Dantrolene / pharmacology*
  • Depression, Chemical
  • Electric Stimulation
  • Motor Neurons / drug effects
  • Muscle Contraction / drug effects
  • Muscles / drug effects*


  • Dantrolene