Sarcomere Length-Resting Tension Relation in Single Frog Atrial Cardiac Cells

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Abstract

SUMMARY

It generally has been thought that the relatively high resting tension characteristic of cardiac tissue resides in structures (collagen, elastin) external to the individual cardiac cells, but the evidence to support this conclusion has been indirect, since the resting tension of intact single cardiac cells has not been determined previously. The purpose of the present investigation was to determine the resting tension (stress)-sarcomere length relationships of single intact frog atrial cells. For tension determinations, a single cell was attached between two poly-L-lysine-coated glass beams: one beam served as a compliant calibrated cantilevered force beam, and length changes were imposed on the cell by movement of the other beam. Coventional bright-field light microscope techniques were used to view the cell, the sarcomere pattern within the cell, and the position of the force beam. The resting tension of the intact cell increased from a value of about 10 nN at a sarcomere length of 2.35 /im to a value of about 130 nN at a sarcomere length of 3.45 μn. Lagrangian and Eulerian resting stresssarcomere length relationships were computed from the resting tension-sarcomere length relationships. The Lagrangian stress increased from a value of about 0.6 mN/mm2 at a sarcomere length of 2.35 pm to a value of about 7 mN/mm1 at a sarcomere length of 3.45 pm. These values of stress are about 8- to 30-fold less than those previously reported for intact frog atrial tissue and indicate that the resting tension of intact frog atrial preparations resides primarily in structures external to the individual cardiac cell. Ore Res 45: 554-659, 1979

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