Reports

Potassium chloride versus voltage clamp contractures in ventricular muscle

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  30 Jan 1981:
Vol. 211, Issue 4481, pp. 485-487
DOI: 10.1126/science.7455687

Abstract

In frog ventricle, developed tension was markedly larger in response to depolarization caused by a voltage clamp step than to depolarization induced by high concentrations of potassium chloride. Measurement of extracellular potassium activity at the surface and at the depth of muscle during the development of contractures showed that the diffusion of potassium is much slower than the spread of depolarization through the cross section of muscle. These two observations suggest that competition between the depolarizing and the negative inotropic effects of an increase in the extracellular potassium ion concentration may determine the time course and magnitude of contractile tension in heart muscle.