Onset of Mechanical Activation of Mammalian Heart Muscle in Calcium- and Strontium-Containing Solutions
The time course of the relationship between force, shortening velocity, and length during shortening was examined in mammalian heart muscle in calcium (Ca)-containing solutions and solutions with strontium (Sr) substituted for Ca by imposing load clamps of various amplitudes at various times during external shortening. The onset of this force-velocity-length relationship was measured by abruptly unloading the muscle at different times to nearly zero external load--by zero load clamping the muscle--under conditions of optimal damping; the subsequent unloaded active muscle shortening velocity was then analyzed with respect to time and length. In Ca- containing solution, the unloaded velocity in the length range around 90% of Lmax rose within 16% of the time required to reach peak isometric force to a maximum level appropriate to a given contractile state. Subsequently, the force-velocity-length relationship was independent of time at any load over a well-determined portion of external shortening. In Sr-containing solution, unloaded active velocity rose much slower to reach a steady state after 30-35% of the time to peak force, and the time independence of the force-velocity-length relationship was delayed until after this time. In Na-free Sr-containing solution, maximum unloaded shortening velocity and the time-independent portion of the force-velocity-length relationship were achieved again within 20% of the time to peak force. The effects of substitution of Sr for Ca thus resemble those of caffeine on mammalian heart muscle. These findings suggest a close relationship between the time course of the force-velocity-length relationship and the degree of activation.
- cat papillary muscle
- zero load clamp
- maximum unloaded shortening velocity
- force-velocity-length relationship
- Received December 26, 1973.
- Accepted May 15, 1974.
- © 1974 American Heart Association, Inc.