A model was developed to describe the kinetics of slow, voltage-dependent charge movement in the rat omohyoid muscle. To represent the electrically distributed nature of the transverse tubular system (t-system), we followed an approach similar to that described by Adrian and Peachey (1973 J. Physiol. [Lond.]. 235:103), and approximated the fiber with 12 concentric cylindrical shells. Incorporated into each shell were capacitative and conductive elements that represented the passive electrical properties of the t-system, and an element representing the mobile charge. The charge was assumed to obey a two-state scheme, in which the redistribution of charge is governed by a first-order reaction, and the rate constants linking the two states were assumed to depend on potential according to the constant field expression. The predictions of this "distributed two-state model" were compared with charge movements experimentally measured in individual fibers. For this comparison, first, the passive electrical parameters of the model were adjusted to fit the experimental linear capacity transient. Next, the Boltzmann expression was fitted to the steady state Q vs. V data of the fiber, thereby constraining the voltage dependence of the rate constants, but not their absolute magnitude. The absolute magnitude was determined by fitting the theory to an experimental charge movement at a single test potential, which in turn constrained the fits at all other test potentials. The distributed two-state model well described the rising and falling phases of ON, OFF, and stepped OFF charge movements at temperatures ranging from 3 to 25 degrees C. We thus conclude that tubular delays are sufficient to account for the rounded rising phase of experimental charge movements, and that it is unnecessary to postulate higher-order reaction schemes for the underlying charge redistribution.

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