A model is developed to predict the changes in total capacitance (i.e. total charge stored divided by surface membrane potential) of the tubular system of muscle fibers. The tubular system is represented as a punctated disc and the area of membrane across which current flows is represented as a punctated annulus, the capacitance of the muscle fiber being proportional to this area. The area can be determined from a distributed model of the tubular system, in which the only resistance to radial current flow is presumed to be in the lumen of the tubules. Calculations are made of the variation of capacitance expected as the conductivity of the bathing solution is varied. These calculations include the effects of fixed charge in the tubular lumen and the effects of changes in the shape and volume of the tubular system in solutions of low conductivity. The calculated results fail to fit comparable experimental data, although they do qualitatively account for the known variation of the radial spread of contraction with conductivity of the bathing medium. It is pointed out that the existence of a significant "access resistance" at the mouth of the tubules might explain the discrepancy between theory and experiment.

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