The structure of a small strand of rabbit heart muscle fibers (trabecula carnea), 30–80 µ in diameter, has been examined with light and electron microscopy. By establishing a correlation between the appearance of regions of close fiber contact in light and electron microscopy, the extent and distribution of regions of close apposition of fibers has been evaluated in approximately 200 µ length of a strand. The distribution of possible regions of resistive coupling between fibers has been approximated by a model system of cables. The theoretical linear electrical properties of such a system have been analyzed and the implications of the results of this analysis are discussed. Since this preparation is to be used for correlated studies of the electrical, mechanical, and cytochemical properties of cardiac muscle, a comprehensive study of the morphology of this preparation has been made. The muscle fibers in it are distinguished from those of the rabbit papillary muscle, in that they have no triads and have a kind of mitochondrion not found in papillary muscle. No evidence of a transverse tubular system was found, but junctions of cisternae of the sarcoplasmic reticulum and the sarcolemma, peripheral couplings, were present. The electrophysiological implications of the absence of transverse tubules are discussed. The cisternae of the couplings showed periodic tubular extensions toward the sarcolemma. A regularly spaced array of Z line-like material was observed, suggesting a possible mechanism for sarcomere growth.

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