Approximately 60-70% of the total fiber calcium was localized in the terminal cisternae (TC) in resting frog muscle as determined by electron-probe analysis of ultrathin cryosections. During a 1.2 s tetanus, 59% (69 mmol/kg dry TC) of the calcium content of the TC was released, enough to raise total cytoplasmic calcium concentration by approximately 1 mM. This is equivalent to the concentration of binding sites on the calcium-binding proteins (troponin and parvalbumin) in frog muscle. Calcium release was associated with a significant uptake of magnesium and potassium into the TC, but the amount of calcium released exceeded the total measured cation accumulation by 62 mEq/kg dry weight. It is suggested that most of the charge deficit is apparent, and charge compensation is achieved by movement of protons into the sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR) and/or by the movement of organic co- or counterions not measured by energy dispersive electron-probe analysis. There was no significant change in the sodium or chlorine content of the TC during tetanus. The unchanged distribution of a permeant anion, chloride, argues against the existence of a large and sustained transSR potential during tetanus, if the chloride permeability of the in situ SR is as high as suggested by measurements on fractionated SR. The calcium content of the longitudinal SR (LSR) during tetanus did not show the LSR to be a major site of calcium storage and delayed return to the TC. The potassium concentration in the LSR was not significantly different from the adjacent cytoplasmic concentration. Analysis of small areas of I-band and large areas, including several sarcomeres, suggested that chloride is anisotropically distributed, with some of it probably bound to myosin. In contrast, the distribution of potassium in the fiber cytoplasm followed the water distribution. The mitochondrial concentration of calcium was low and did not change significantly during a tetanus. The TC of both tetanized and resting freeze-substituted muscles contained electron-lucent circular areas. The appearance of the TC showed no evidence of major volume changes during tetanus, in agreement with the estimates of unchanged (approximately 72%) water content of the TC obtained with electron-probe analysis.

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