Single muscle fibers from rabbit soleus and adductor magnus and from semitendinosus muscles were peeled to remove the sarcolemma and then stimulated to release Ca2+ by (a) caffeine application or (b) ionic depolarization accomplished via substitution of choline chloride for potassium propionate at constant [K+] X [Cl-] in the bathing solution. Each stimulus, ionic or caffeine, elicited an isometric tension transient that appeared to be due to Ca2+ released from the sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR). The peak magnitude of the ionic (Cl- -induced) tension transient increased with increasing Cl- concentration. The application of ouabain to fibers after peeling had no effect on either type of tension transient. However, soaking the fibers in a ouabain solution before peeling blocked the Cl- -induced but not the caffeine-induced tension transient, which suggests that ouabain's site of action is extracellular, perhaps inside transverse tubules (TTs). Treating the peeled fibers with saponin, which should disrupt TTs to a greater extent than SR membrane, greatly reduced or eliminated the Cl- -induced tension transient without significantly altering the caffeine-induced tension transient. These results suggest that the Cl- -induced tension transient is elicited via stimulation of sealed, polarized TTs rather than via ionic depolarization of the SR.

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