This study was designed to investigate the proposition that subcellular calcium is sequestered in specific sites in mammalian myocardium. 29 functioning dog papillary muscles were fixed through the intact vascular supply by means of osmium tetroxide containing a 2% concentration of potassium pyroantimonate (K2H2Sb2O7·4H2O). Tissue examined in the electron microscope showed a consistent and reproducible localization of the electron-opaque pyroantimonate salts of sodium and calcium to distinct sites in the tissue. Sodium pyroantimonate was found exclusively in the extracellular space and clustered at the sarcolemmal membrane. Calcium pyroantimonate, on the other hand, identified primarily by its susceptibility to removal by chelation with EGTA and EDTA, was consistently found densely concentrated in the lateral sacs of the sarcoplasmic reticulum and over the sarcomeric I bands. M zones were virtually free of precipitate. The implications of these findings with respect to various parameters of muscle function are discussed.

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