The steady-state myofilament Ca sensitivity was determined in skinned cardiac trabeculae from the rabbit right ventricle (diameter, 0.13-0.34 mm) at 36, 29, 22, 15, 8, and 1 degree C. Muscles were stimulated to 0.5 Hz and stretched to a length at which maximum twitch tension was generated. The preparation was then skinned with 1% vol/vol Triton X-100 in a relaxing medium (10 mM EGTA, pCa 9.0). Each preparation was exposed to a series of Ca-containing solutions (pCa 6.3-4.0) at two of the six temperatures studied (temperature was regulated to +/- 0.1 degree C). The pCa values (mean +/- SD, n = 6) corresponding to half maximal tension at 36, 29, 22, 15, 8, and 1 degree C were 5.47 +/- 0.07, 5.49 +/- 0.07, 5.34 +/- 0.05, 5.26 +/- 0.09, 4.93 +/- 0.06, and 4.73 +/- 0.04, respectively. Mean (+/- SD) maximum tension (Cmax) developed by the preparation as a percentage of that at 22 degrees C was 118 +/- 10, 108 +/- 5, 74 +/- 6, 57 +/- 7, and 29 +/- 5% at 36, 29, 15, 8, and 1 degree C, respectively. As cooling led to a shift of Ca sensitivity towards higher [Ca2+] and a reduction of Cmax, the Ca sensitivity curves over this range of temperatures do not cross over as has been described for canine Purkinje fibers (Fabiato 1985). Since tension is decreased by cooling at all levels of [Ca2+] it is unlikely that changes in myofilament Ca sensitivity play a role in the large hypothermic inotropy seen in rabbit ventricular muscle. The increase in sensitivity of the myofilaments to Ca on warming from 1 to 29 degrees C might be related to the increase in force seen on rewarming from a rapid cooling contracture in intact rabbit ventricular muscle.

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