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Dr.

Niranjan Murthy H L
Asst. Prof., Dept. of Physiology
Sree Siddhartha Medical College & Hospital, Tumkur
THEORIES OF CONTRACTION
• Viscoelastic (new elastic body theory)
theory- 1840s to1920s- muscle acts like a
stretched spring contained in a viscous
medium.
• Continuous filament theory- during
contraction actin and myosin combine to form
a single filament. This undergoes folding and
shortening due to thermal agitation or loss of
water molecules
• Sliding filament theory
SLIDING FILAMENT THEORY
• 1954 by A.F.Huxley and H.E.Huxley
independently
• Two overlapping sets of filaments sliding
past each other.
• Thin filaments at each end of sarcomere
move towards center between thick
filaments.
• Globular heads of myosin form cross-
bridges with actin monomers- cross-
bridge theory
• Huxley (1969)- cross-bridges attach to thin filament
 pull towards center detach attach further down
 ratchet theory or walk-along theory
ATP attaches to myosin head

ATP split into ADP+Pi

Myosin head cocks up

Attaches to actin monomer

Head tilts towards arm


Powerstroke
Actin is pulled

ADP & Pi released

ATP attaches to head

Head releases from actin

ATP is cleaved
To ADP & Pi

Head cocks up
EVENTS DURING MUSCLE
CONTRACTION
1. Chemical changes
2. Mechanical changes
3. Thermal changes
4. Electrical changes
Chemical changes
• ATP attaches to myosin head splits to
ADP+Pi myosin head cocks up
attaches to actin power-stroke ADP &
Pi discarded new ATP attaches to
myosin head myosin head released
from actin
• ATP yields 11.5kcal/mol
Sources of ATP
1. ATP present in sarcoplasm- suffice for
1-2sec
2. Creatine phosphate- suffice for 5-8sec.
Lohman’s reaction
CP+ADP=Creatine+ATP
3. Glycolysis- suffice for 1min
4. Oxidation of cellular foodstuff- for longer
periods
Mechanical changes
• Isotonic contraction- shortening of muscle
but volume remains the same
• Isometric contraction- no change in the
length
Thermal changes
• Resting heat- A.V.HILL- 300cal/min in 70kg
man with 30kg of skeletal muscles.
• Activation heat- energy required for Ca2+
influx, binding to troponin & pumping out of
Ca2+- 10cal/gm
• Shortening heat- proportional to amount of
shortening
• Maintenance heat
• Relaxation heat
• Recovery heat- restitution of ATP and
glycogen
Electrical changes
• RMP of -90mv
• AP moves along sarcolemma
• Velocity of AP conduction- 5m/sec
MOTOR UNIT
• Single nerve fiber with all the muscle
fibers it supplies for a motor unit
• Motor units may contain 2 to few hundred
muscle fibers
• Smaller motor units are associated with
muscles of fine movements
WORKING MODEL
• Muscle consists of 3 components
2. Contractile element
3. Series elastic element- arms of cross-
bridges, tendon fibers
4. Parallel elastic element- connective
tissue
TYPES OF CONTRACTION
• Isometric contraction- length remains
same whereas tension increases.
Eg: pushing the wall
• Isotonic contraction- tension remains
same whereas length changes.
Eg: throwing a stone
LENGTH-TENSION RELATIONSHIP
Muscle length is held constant at various
lengths.
Muscle directly stimulated at many points.
Tension developed is measured using
transducer.
Maximum tension at rest length.
When muscle is stretched, passive tension
is developed due stretching of elastic
elements
• Studied in single muscle fiber using optical diffraction
patterns of laser.
• Tension developed is maximum at 2-2.2μ when there
is optimum overlap of actin and myosin
• No tension when muscle is stretched so that there is
no overlap of actin & myosin filaments
• With shorter lengths, tension reduces
FORCE-VELOCITY RELATIONSHIP
• Muscle is allowed to contract with various
loads attached
• Isotonic contraction
• Initial latency is time for activation of
contractile machinery
• Later part of latency is time taken to
stretch the SEE
• As the load increases, velocity decreases
• Rigor mortis:-
Seen after death
State of extreme rigidity
Due to fixed interaction between actin &
myosin heads
ATP is needed to break actin-myosin
bond
Loss of rigidity after few hours due to
proteolysis
Types of skeletal muscle
Red muscle fiber White muscle fiber
Slow twitch period Fast twitch period
Extensive blood supply Lesser blood supply
Thinner fiber Thicker fiber
Plenty of mitochondriae Less mitochondria
Copious myoglobin Less myoglobin
Less glycogen and More glycogen &
glycolytic enzymes glycolytic &
phosphorylase enzymes
Less ATPase activity Less ATPase activity
Sustained contraction Short bursts of activity
ELECTROMYOGRAPHY
• During a normal twitch, minute electrical
potential is dissipated into surrounding.
This can be picked up by surface
electrodes on skin.
• All the motor units do not contract at same
time- so the electrical potential is
prolonged.
• Amplitude of 0.5mv & duration of 5-8ms
• Electromyograph is a high gain amplifier
• Skin electrodes or needle electrodes are
used
• Motor unit potentials are displayed on
CRO
• Potential is a sharp spike, usually biphasic
• Larger the motor-unit potential, larger the
motor unit.
• Useful for distinguishing nerve from
muscle disease
• EMGs are obtained at rest, during slight
muscle contraction, and during maximal
muscle activity
• Henneman principle
• Fibrillation- contraction of single muscle
cells
• Fasciculation- contraction of groups of
muscle cells supplied by a single axon