An electron microscopic study of rabbit and human myocardium provides further evidence of the existence of two distinct components of the sarcoplasmic reticulum. A thin-walled tubular system (termed longitudinal system) is arranged in anastomosing channels sur-surrounding each sarcomere and has transverse and possibly also longitudinal connections with the tubules of adjacent sarcomeres. A thick-walled tubular system traverses the myofiber transversely at the level of the Z lines of the myofibrils. The structure of these tubules very closely resembles that of deep sarcolemmal invaginations. Indeed, the membranes of the tubules appear to be continuous with the sarcolemma in favorable sections so that there seems to be an extension of the cell membrane and extracellular fluid to all depths of the myocardial fiber. Certain physiologic data which support this concept are discussed. The calculations of A. V. Hill comparing the kinetics of diffusion and the time-distance relationships between excitation and activation in frog sartorius muscle are reconsidered for cardiac muscle.

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