The dynamic stiffness of excised cardiac muscles that would be likely to have different intrinsic speeds of contraction, as judged by previous biochemical reports of their myosin ATPase rates, was compared. This study included muscles from thyrotoxic rabbits and newborn rabbits, rabbit atria, and normal papillary muscles at different temperatures. The usual excitation-contraction coupling process was bypassed by replacing bathing Ca2+ with Ba2+. The ensuing actively maintained contracture allowed us to focus more specifically on the contractile properties of the myofilaments. Dynamic stiffness was determined by sinusoidally oscillating muscle length at many different frequencies over the range 0.05-50 Hz while holding average muscle length at 95% of the systolic length, thus giving maximal developed force. The form of the stiffness modulus spectrum was similar for all muscles studied: stiffness was fairly constant at low frequencies, decreased to a minimum at an intermediate frequency, and then increased steeply, followed by a milder rate of increase over high frequencies. Differences in contraction speed were evident by shifts in the frequencies at which corresponding portions of the stiffness spectrum appeared. The clearest landmark was the frequency where stiffness became minimum (f(min)). This varied strongly with temperature (Q10 = 2.9). Compared to normal adult papillary muscles (f(min) = 1.2 Hz), f(min) was 2.2 times faster in thyrotoxic myocardium, 1.9 times faster in 1-week-old rabbits, and 3.7 times faster in atrial trabeculae. These ratios of functional speed are similar to the corresponding ratios of myosin Ca2+-ATPase activities reported in the literature.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine