Tonicity effects on intact single muscle fibers: relation between force and cell volume

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Science  26 Feb 1982:
Vol. 215, Issue 4536, pp. 1109-1112
DOI: 10.1126/science.6977845


Contraction of isolated, intact frog muscle fibers under increasing tonicity of the external solution was studied by adding (i) effectively impermeant sodium chloride and sucrose and (ii) permeant potassium chloride. Force of isometric contraction decreased as a function of tonicity, independent of the permeability of the solute. In contrast, cell volume changed with tonicity in impermeant solutes and was constant with potassium chloride. The results are evidence that ionic strength in the sarcoplasm directly influences the contraction mechanism. Also, the findings show that force development is unaffected by changes in fiber volume, suggesting that the force per cross-bridge is constant at different distances between the thin and myofilaments. Finally, in light of the length-force relation, the results support the idea that cross-bridges are independent force generators.