A thixotropic effect in contracting rabbit psoas muscle: Prior movement reduces the initial tension response to stretch

Kenneth S. Campbell, Richard L. Moss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations

Abstract

1. Paired ramp stretches and releases ('triangular length changes', typically 0.04 ± 0.09 L(o) s-1; mean ± S.E.M.) were imposed on permeabilised rabbit psoas fibre segments under sarcomere length control. In actively contracting fibres, the tension response to stretch was biphasic; tension rose more rapidly during the first 0.005 L(o) of the imposed stretch than thereafter. Tension also dropped in a biphasic manner during shortening, and at the end of the length change was reduced below the steady state. 2. If a second triangular length change was imposed shortly after the first, tension rose less sharply during the initial phase of lengthening, i.e. the stiffness of the muscle during the initial phase of the response was reduced in the second stretch. This is a thixotropic effect. If a third triangular length change was imposed on the muscle, the response was the same as that to the second. 3. The time required to recover the original tension response was measured by varying the interval between triangular length changes. Recovery to steady state occurred at a rate of ~ 1 s-1. 4. The stiffness of the muscle during the initial phase of the response scaled with the developed tension in pCa (= -log10[Ca2+]) solutions ranging from 6.3 (minimal activation) to 4.5 (saturating effect). The relative thixotropic reduction in stiffness measured using paired length changes was independent of the pCa of the activating solution. 5. The thixotropic behaviour of contracting skeletal muscle can be explained by a cross-bridge model of muscle contraction in which the number of attached cross-bridges is temporarily reduced following an imposed movement.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)531-548
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Physiology
Volume525
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology

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