European Journal of Applied Physiology

, Volume 83, Issue 2–3, pp 166–174

Functional significance of Ca2+ in long-lasting fatigue of skeletal muscle

  • Håkan Westerblad
  • Joseph D. Bruton
  • David G. Allen
  • Jan Lännergren
REVIEW ARTICLE

Abstract

Repeated activation of skeletal muscle causes fatigue, which involves a reduced ability to produce force and slowed contraction regarding both the speed of shortening and relaxation. One important component in skeletal muscle fatigue is a reduced sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR) Ca2+ release. In the present review we will describe different types of fatigue-induced inhibition of SR Ca2+ release. We will focus on a type of long-lasting failure of SR Ca2+ release which is called low-frequency fatigue, because this type of fatigue may be involved in the muscle dysfunction and chronic pain experienced by computer workers. Paradoxically it appears that the Ca2+ released from the SR, which is required for contraction, may actually be responsible for the failure of SR Ca2+ release during low-frequency fatigue. We will also discuss the relationship between gross morphological changes in muscle fibres and long-lasting failure of SR Ca2+ release. Finally, a model linking muscle cell dysfunction and muscle pain is proposed.

Key words Fatigue Skeletal muscle Calcium Sarcoplasmic reticulum 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Håkan Westerblad
    • 1
  • Joseph D. Bruton
    • 1
  • David G. Allen
    • 2
  • Jan Lännergren
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, Karolinska Institutet, 171 77 Stockholm, Sweden e-mail: hakan.westerblad@fyfa.ki.se Fax: +46-8-327026SE
  2. 2.Department of Physiology F13, Institute for Biomedical Science, University of Sydney, NSW 2006, AustraliaAU

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