Length-induced changes in activation during contraction. A study of mechanical oscillations in strontium-mediated contractions of cat and frog heart muscle.
The plateau phase of prolonged Sr-mediated contractions of preparations of cat and frog heart muscle was used to study the transient response to abrupt changes in load or length. An oscillatory response (total amplitude equal to or less than 5% Lmax) was obtained. Isotonic oscillations were less damped than their isometric counterparts, implying positive feedback and thus a causal role of the perturbation in length. Oscillation frequency was 2-3 HZ at 29 degrees C (Q 10, 2-3); it could be increased by epinephrine or caffeine, independently of their effects on extent of shortening; it otherwise changed as a generally constant function of the length at which the oscillation occurred, whether this was altered by changes in extracellular [Sr], frequency of contraction, or load (independent of the direction and magnitude of the preceding load step). Similar oscillatory responses were induced during Sr- or Ca-mediated contractures. Cat muscles showed an additional slower component to the oscillatory response. Transient augmentation of the velocity-length relationship after abrupt reduction in load, previously described for twitch contractions under certain conditions, appears to be analogous to the first phase of the oscillatory response studied here. Our findings indicate that the oscillation is not attributable to any mechanism intrinsic to myofilament interaction, but rather that it involves length-induced changes in the level of activation, probably mediated by Ca2+ or Sr2+. We conclude that length influences the level of activation during contraction of heart muscle.
- Copyright © 1976 by American Heart Association