Journal of Muscle Research & Cell Motility

, Volume 26, Issue 4, pp 225–235

Modelling diffusive O2 supply to isolated preparations of mammalian skeletal and cardiac muscle


DOI: 10.1007/s10974-005-9013-x

Cite this article as:
Barclay, C.J. J Muscle Res Cell Motil (2005) 26: 225. doi:10.1007/s10974-005-9013-x


The purpose of this study was to use A. V. Hill’s equation describing diffusion of O2 into cylindrical muscles to assess the adequacy of O2 supply for commonly used isolated preparations of mammalian cardiac and skeletal muscles. The diffusion equation was solved numerically to give the maximum, steady state O2 diffusion distances (i.e. the distance from the surface of the muscle to the radial location where \({P}_{{\rm O}_{2}}\) is 0) for both resting and contracting muscles and for a range of temperatures. Non-steady state solutions for the rest-to-work transition were also determined to estimate how long contractile activity could be continued before anoxia develops at the muscle centre. The influence on muscle oxygenation of myoglobin-facilitated O2 diffusion was also assessed. The analysis was performed for typical sized, whole muscles from adult rats and mice, for frog sartorius muscle and for a range of temperatures. Muscle O2 consumption rates were taken from the literature. The results indicated that (1) diffusive O2 supply would be adequate to support resting metabolism of soleus and EDL muscles of rat and mouse but may not be adequate to support the transient high resting metabolic rate of papillary muscles shortly after dissection, (2) during steady contractile activity of soleus and EDL muscles, particularly those from the rat, over a reasonable range of duty cycles, adequate O2 supply could only be ensured if the radii of preparations was substantially smaller than those of whole muscles and (3) for cardiac muscles, diffusive O2 supply could only support steady-state metabolism at twitch frequencies <1 Hz for whole papillary muscles from rat and <3 Hz for those from mouse. Reducing experimental temperature markedly enhances O2 supply to skeletal, but not cardiac, muscle. O2 supply from myoglobin had only minimal effects on oxygenation under typical isolated muscle conditions.

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Physiotherapy and Exercise ScienceGriffith University, Gold CoastGold CoastAustralia