A method of rapid freezing in supercooled Freon 22 (monochlorodifluoromethane) followed by cryoultramicrotomy is described and shown to yield ultrathin sections in which both the cellular ultrastructure and the distribution of diffusible ions across the cell membrane are preserved and intracellular compartmentalization of diffusabler ions can be quantitated. Quantitative electron probe analysis (Shuman, H., A.V. Somlyo, and A.P. Somlyo. 1976. Ultramicros. 1:317-339.) of freeze-dried ultrathin cryto sections was found to provide a valid measure of the composition of cells and cellular organelles and was used to determine the ionic composition of the in situ terminal cisternae of the sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR), the distribution of CI in skeletal muscle, and the effects of hypertonic solutions on the subcellular composition if striated muscle.
There was no evidence of sequestered CI in the terminal cisternae of resting muscles, although calcium (66mmol/kg dry wt +/- 4.6 SE) was detected. The values of [C1](i) determined with small (50-100 nm) diameter probes over cytoplasm excluding organelles over nuclei or terminal cisternae were not significantly different. Mitochondria partially excluded C1, with a cytoplasmic/ mitochondrial Ci ratio of 2.4 +/- 0.88 SD.
The elemental concentrations (mmol/kg dry wt +/- SD) of muscle fibers measured with 0.5-9-μm diameter electron probes in normal frog striated muscle were: P, 302 +/- 4.3; S, 189 +/- 2.9;C1, 24 +/- 1.1;K, 404 +/- 4.3, and Mg, 39 +/- 2.1. It is concluded that: (a) in normal muscle the "excess CI" measured with previous bulk chemical analyses and flux studies is not compartmentalized in the SR or in other cellular organelles, and (b) the cytoplasmic C1 in low [K](0) solutions exceeds that predicted by a passive electrochemical distribution.
Hypertonic 2.2 X NaCl, 2.5 X sucrose, or 2.2 X Na isethionate produced: (a) swollen vacuoles, frequently paired, adjacent to the Z lines and containing significantly higher than cytoplasmic concentrations of Na and Cl or S (isethionate), but no detectable Ca, and (b) granules of Ca, Mg, and P = approximately (6 Ca + 1 Mg)/6P in the longitudinal SR. It is concluded that hypertonicity produces compartmentalized domains of extracellular solutes within the muscle fibers and translocates Ca into the longitudinal tubules.