SUMMARY OF THE EVENTS (STEPS) IN SKELETAL MUSCLE CONTRACTION
1. Nerve impulse arrives at the neuromuscular junction.2. Vesicle in the end plate of motor axon release acetylcholine which diffuses across nerve-muscle gap.3. Acetylcholine depolarizes sarcolemma, and is then inactivated by acetylcholinesterase.4. T tubules and Z lines spread the action potential throughout the muscle fibre.5. Electrical depolarization changes the permeability of S.R., causing somehow the release of calcium ionsfrom the S.R. lumen into the cytoplasm of the muscle fibre.6. Ca
bind to troponin, making tropomyosin move uncover the active sites on actin.One complete swiveling cycle of myosine head shortens the sarcomere by about 1% of its original length.
7. ATP joints meromyosin head that hydrolyses. ATP into ADP and inorganic phosphate, releasing energy.The energy raises the head to high-energy state. An enzyme myosin
catalyzes the reaction in thepresence of Ca
ions.Myosin ATPaseATP ADP + Pi + EnergyCa,Mg
The energized head straightens and joins active site on actin, forming a cross-bridge.9. The head now releases ADP and inorganic phosphate and relaxes to its low-energy state and position.This pulls the actin myofilament towards the centre of the sarcomere, that shortens.10. A new ATP molecule joins the head, detaching it form the actin myofilament.11. Above four steps (7 – 10) are repeated many times during one contraction to draw the thin myofilamentsfurther inward.
Now the calcium ions are quickly returned to the sarcoplasmic reticulum by active transport with energyfrom ATP.2.
Troponin-tropomyosin complex shifts back to block the active sites on actin.3.
The thin myofilaments return to their original resting position. The muscle is now relaxed.4.
In the relaxation period, sarcolemma becomes normal or repolarized as the sodium-potassium exchangepump starts working.5.
In case of repeated contractions, ATP is replenished by the action : ADP + Phosphocreatine = ATP +Creatine.6.
In case of excessive muscular activity, the muscle fibres run into oxygen debt and stop contractions due toaccumulation of lactic acid.7.
In a resting muscle, the excess lactic acid is oxidized. This enables the muscle to resume contractions.8.
EFFICIENCY OF A MUSCLE
A steam engine can convert only about 10% of the heat energy of fuel into useful work, the rest is wasted. Amuscle can use 50 – 70% of the chemical energy of glucose in mechanical work of contraction. Theremaining energy changes into heat, which is not entirely wasted because it is used to maintain the bodytemperature. If we avoid muscle contraction, the heat produced elsewhere in the body is insufficient to keep itwarm in a cold place. Under such a condition, muscles start contracting involuntarily (shivering), producingheat to restore normal body temperature.