Intact cardiac cells from the adult rat or rabbit ventricle were isolated by enzymatic digestion with a progressive increase of the [free Ca2+] in the solution. These cells were electrically stimulated in the presence of 2.50 mM free Ca2+, and a twitch of maximum amplitude was elicited by the positive inotropic interventions that were found to be optimum. Then the cells were chemically skinned, and the maximum tension induced by a saturating [free Ca2+] was used as a reference to express the tension developed during the twitch of the intact cells. The myoplasmic [free Ca2+] reached during the twitch was inferred from the tension-pCa curve. In mechanically skinned cells of the same animal species, the myoplasmic [free Ca2+] reached during Ca2+-induced release of Ca2+ from the sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR) was inferred by two methods using (a) the tension-pCa curve and (b) a direct calibration of the transients of aequorin bioluminescence. The induction of a maximum Ca2+ release from the SR required a larger Ca2+ preload of the SR and a higher [free Ca2+] trigger in the rabbit than in the rat skinned cells. However, the results obtained with the two methods of inference of the myoplasmic [free Ca2+] suggest that in both animal species a maximum myoplasmic [free Ca2+] of pCa approximately 5.40 was reached during both the optimum Ca2+-induced release of Ca2+ from the SR of the skinned cells and the optimum twitch of the intact cells. This was much lower than the [free Ca2+] necessary for the full activation of the myofilaments (pCa approximately 4.90).

This content is only available as a PDF.