Alterations in triad ultrastructure following repetitive stimulation and intracellular changes associated with exercise in amphibian skeletal muscleReport as inadecuate

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Journal of Muscle Research and Cell Motility

, Volume 28, Issue 1, pp 19–28

First Online: 02 March 2007Received: 24 August 2006Accepted: 05 January 2007DOI: 10.1007-s10974-007-9100-2

Cite this article as: Usher-Smith, J.A., Fraser, J.A., Huang, C.LH. et al. J Muscle Res Cell Motil 2007 28: 19. doi:10.1007-s10974-007-9100-2


This study used Rana temporaria sartorius muscles to examine the effect of fatiguing electrical stimulation on the gap between the T-tubular and sarcoplasmic reticular membranes T-SR distance and the T-tubule diameter and compared this with corresponding effects on resting fibres exposed to a range of extracellular conditions that each replicate one of the major changes associated with muscular activity: membrane depolarisation, isotonic volume increase, acidification and intracellular lactate accumulation. Following each treatment, muscles were immersed in isotonic fixative solution and processed for transmission electron microscopy TEM. Mean T-SR distances were estimated from orthogonal intercepts to provide estimates of diffusion distances between T and SR membranes and T-tubule diameter was estimated by measuring its shortest axis in the sampled J-SR complexes. Measurements from muscles fatigued by low frequency intermittent stimulation showed significant P << 0.05 reversible increases in both T-SR distance and T-tubule diameter from 15.97 ± 0.37 nm to 20.15 ± 0.56 nm and from 15.44 ± 0.60 nm to 22.26 ± 0.84 nm n = 40, 30 respectively. Exposure to increasing concentrations of extracellular K in the absence of Cl to produce membrane depolarisation without accompanying cell swelling reduced T-SR distance and increased T-tubule diameter, whilst comparable increases in Ke in the presence of Cl suggested that isotonic cell swelling has the opposite effect. Acidification alone, produced by NH4Cl addition and withdrawal, also decreased T-SR distance and T-tubule diameter. A similar reduction in T-SR distance occurred following exposure to extracellular Na-lactate where such acidification was accompanied by elevations of intracellular lactate, but these conditions produced a significant swelling of T-tubules attributable to movement of lactate from the cell into the T-tubules. This study thus confirms previous reports of significant increases in T-SR distance and T-tubule diameter following stimulation. However, of membrane depolarisation, isotonic cell swelling, intracellular acidification and lactate accumulation, only isotonic cell swelling increases T-SR distance whilst membrane depolarisation and intracellular lactate likely contribute to the observed increases in T-tubule diameter.

KeywordsSkeletal muscle Stimulation Triad ultrastructure  Download fulltext PDF

Author: Juliet A. Usher-Smith - James A. Fraser - Christopher L.-H. Huang - Jeremy N. Skepper


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