Penn Medicine

Yale Goldman, M.D., Ph.D.

Compliance of thin filaments in skinned fibers of rabbit skeletal muscle.

Higuchi H, Yanagida T, Goldman YE

Biophys J 69:1000-1010, 1994.

The mechanical compliance (reciprocal of stiffness) of thin filaments was estimated from the relative compliance of single, skinned muscle fibers in rigor at sarcomere lengths between 1.8 and 2.4 micron. The compliance of the fibers was calculated as the ratio of sarcomere length change to tension change during imposition of repetitive cycles of small stretches and releases. Fiber compliance decreased as the sarcomere length was decreased below 2.4 micron. The compliance of the thin filaments could be estimated from this decrement because in this range of lengths overlap between the thick and thin filaments is complete and all of the myosin heads bind to the thin filament in rigor. Thus, the compliance of the overlap region of the sarcomere is constant as length is changed and the decrease in fiber compliance is due to decrease of the nonoverlap length of the thin filaments (the I band). The compliance value obtained for the thin filaments implies that at 2.4-microns sarcomere length, the thin filaments contribute approximately 55% of the total sarcomere compliance. Considering that the sarcomeres are approximately 1.25-fold more compliant in active isometric contractions than in rigor, the thin filaments contribute approximately 44% to sarcomere compliance during isometric contraction.

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