The passive electrical properties of glycerol-treated muscle fibers, which have virtually no transverse tubules, were determined. Current was passed through one intracellular microelectrode and the time course and spatial distribution of the resulting potential displacement measured with another. The results were analyzed by using conventional cable equations. The membrane resistance of fibers without tubules was 3759 ± 331 ohm-cm2 and the internal resistivity 192 ohm-cm. Both these figures are essentially the same as those found in normal muscle fibers. The capacitance of the fibers without tubules is strikingly smaller than normal, being 2.24 ± 0.14 µF/cm2. Measurements were also made of the passive electrical properties of fibers in a Ringer solution containing 400 mM glycerol (which is used in the preparation of glycerol-treated fibers). The membrane resistance and capacitance are essentially normal, but the internal resistivity is somewhat reduced. These results show that glycerol in this concentration does not directly affect the membrane capacitance. Thus, the figure for the capacitance of glycerol-treated fibers, which agrees well with previous estimates made by different techniques, represents the capacitance of the outer membrane of the fiber. Estimates of the capacitance per unit area of the tubular membrane are made and the significance of the difference between the figures for the capacitance of the surface and tubular membrane is discussed.

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