Cellular cardiac preparations in which spontaneous activity was suppressed by EGTA buffering were isolated by microdissection. Uniform and reproducible contractions were induced by iontophoretically released calcium ions. No effects of a diffusional barrier to calcium ions between the micropipette and the contractile system were detected since the sensitivity of the mechanical performance for calcium was the same regardless of whether a constant amount of calcium ions was released from a single micropipette or from two micropipettes positioned at different sites along the longitudinal axis of the preparation. Force development, muscle length, and shortening velocity of eitherisometric or isotopic contractions were measured simultaneously. Initial length, and hence preload of the preparation were established by means of an electronic stop and any additional load was sensed as afterload. Mechanical performance was derived from force velocity relations and from the interrelationship between simultaneously measured force, length, and shortening velocity. From phase plane analysis of shortening velocity vs, instantaneous length during shortening and from load clamp experiments, the interrelationship between force, shortening, and velocity was shown to be independent of time during the major portion of shortening. Moreover, peak force, shortening, and velocity of shortening depended on the amount of calcium ions in the medium at low and high ionic strength.

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