Several types of striated muscle have been examined by the technics of electron microscopy and the findings in myotome fibers of Amblystoma larvae, the sartorius, and cardiac muscle of the rat are reported on in some detail. Particular attention has been given to structural components of the interfibrillar sarcoplasm and most especially to a finely divided, vacuolar system known as the sarcoplasmic reticulum. This consists of membrane-limited vesicles, tubules, and cisternae associated in a continuous reticular structure which forms lace-like sleeves around the myofibrils. It shows a definable organization which repeats with each sarcomere of the fiber so that the entire system is segmented in phase with the striations of the associated myofibrils. Details of these repetitive patterns are presented diagrammatically in Text-figs. 1, 2, and 3 on pages 279, 283, and 288 respectively. The system is continuous across the fiber at the H band level and largely discontinuous longitudinally because of interruptions in the structure at the I and Z band levels. The structure of the system relates it to the endoplasmic reticulum of other cell types. The precise morphological relation of the reticulum to the myofibrils, with specializations opposite the different bands, prompts the supposition that the system is functionally important in muscle contraction. In this regard it is proposed that the membrane limiting the system is polarized like the sarcolemma and that the corresponding potential difference is utilized in the intracellular distribution of the excitatory impulse.

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