Changes in volume of crayfish single muscle fibers in response to changes in ionic or electrical conditions have been studied in conjunction with electrophysiological measurements and electron microscopic examinations. The occurrence of at least three mechanisms of water movements is revealed, two being processes which are superimposed on the normal osmotic water movement that results from a change in the concentration of solute in the medium. Differences between the time courses of the changes in volume and potential on changing Ki/Ko indicate that water may be distributed unequally for a time within compartments of the fiber. Electron micrographs reveal a selective accumulation of water at the periphery of the fiber under certain conditions. A correlation of H2O transfer with a change in membrane potential is apparent in crayfish muscle fibers and is probably due to electroosmotic effects. Electrokinetic water movements are produced whenever the membrane potential is changed to a considerable degree by changing the level of K and/or Cl in the medium, or by applying currents with an intracellular microelectrode. Depolarizations cause shrinkage. Hyperpolarizations or repolarizations cause swelling. The volume changes are independent of the occurrence or absence of swelling in the anion-permselective transverse tubular system. They indicate that the fiber membrane along the surface is heterogeneous, not only with respect to the signs of its fixed charge sites, but also with respect to the sizes and relative permselectivities of these charged channels.

This content is only available as a PDF.