Stretch and radial compression studies on relaxed skinned muscle fibers of the frog

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The influence of stretch and radial compression on the width of mechanically skinned fibers from the semitendinosus muscle of the frog (R. pipiens) was examined in relaxing solutions with high-power light microscopy. Fibers were skinned under mineral oil. We find that, after correcting for water uptake in the oil, fiber width increased by an average of 28% upon transfer from oil to relaxing medium, with some tendency for greater swelling at longer sarcomere lengths. Subsequently, fibers were compressed by addition of the long-chain polymer polyvinylpyrrolidone (PVP-40, number average molecular weight 40,000) to relaxing solutions. Sarcomere length does not appear to be affected by addition of PVP. At any PVP concentration, the inverse square of the fiber width increased smoothly and linearly with increasing stretch for sarcomere lengths between 2.10 and 4.60 micrometer. At any fixed sarcomere length, fiber width decreased linearly with the logarithm of the osmotic compressive pressure exerted by PVP (2–10% concentration). From this logarithmic relation we estimate that the swelling pressure of the intact fiber is 3.40 x 10(3) N/m2, between that of a 2 and a 3% PVP solution. The pressure giving rise to fiber swelling is not due to dilation of the sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR), since the experimental results above were not significantly different after treatment with 0.5% BRIJ-58, a nonionic detergent that disrupts the SR. Swelling may be due simply to elastic structures within the fiber that are constrained in the intact cell. Values of bulk moduli of fibers, calculated from the compression experiments, and preliminary measurements of Young's modulus from stretch experiments, are quantitatively consistent with the idea that skinned fibers behave as nonisotropic elastic bodies. © 1979, The Biophysical Society. All rights reserved.




Maughan, D. W., & Godt, R. E. (1979). Stretch and radial compression studies on relaxed skinned muscle fibers of the frog. Biophysical Journal, 28(3), 391–402.

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