Work-induced potassium changes in skeletal muscle and effluent venous blood assessed by liquid ion-exchanger microelectrodes
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- Hník, P., Holas, M., Krekule, I. et al. Pflugers Arch. (1976) 362: 85. doi:10.1007/BF00588685
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Isometric tetanic contractions (at 50 Hz) of various durations caused transient accumulation of Ke+ which was non-linearly related to the duration of muscle activity. The peak values of Ke+ in response to muscle stimulation were analogous in rabbits and cats, attaining values, e.g. after a 20-s isometric tetanus, between 8–9 mEq/lK+ in both species.
Potassium concentration in venous effluent blood (Kven+) was transiently increased after isometric tetani. Since blood flow was measured at the same time, it was possible to calculate the amount of K+ lost by the muscle after tetani of various durations. A 32 g gastrocnemius muscle of the cat, for example, loses 9.36±1.52 μEqK+ after a 20-s isometric tetanus, which corresponds roughly to 0.5% of the total muscle potassium content. The loss of K+ in this muscle was 29.3 pEq K+/impulse/100 g fresh muscle tissue.
There was no evident difference between the amount of K+ released during isometric tetani, or tetanic contractions performed under isotonic conditions. Single twitches evoked by indirect stimulation at 1 Hz for several minutes also induced a small rise in Kven+.
If the loss of K+ from the muscle into the blood stream is transiently prevented by arterio-venous occlusion installed immediately before a 10-s isometric tetanus, most K+ is released subsequently when blood flow is renewed, if the occlusion lasts for 20–25 s. It is not until blood flow is occluded for 40–60 s that most K+ is apparently resorbed and only a minor portion is released and is to be found in the venous blood.
The transient accumulation of muscle extracellular potassium may locally affect nerve endings, skeletal and smooth muscle cells.