Journal of Muscle Research and Cell Motility

, Volume 40, Issue 3–4, pp 353–364 | Cite as

Effects of reduced muscle glycogen on excitation–contraction coupling in rat fast-twitch muscle: a glycogen removal study

  • Daiki Watanabe
  • Masanobu WadaEmail author
Original Article


The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of an enzymatic removal of glycogen on excitation–contraction coupling in mechanically skinned fibres of rat fast-twitch muscles, with a focus on the changes in the function of Na+–K+-pump and ryanodine receptor (RyR). Glycogen present in the skinned fibres and binding to microsomes was removed using glucoamylase (GA). Exposure of whole muscle to 20 U mL−1 GA for 6 min resulted in a 72% decrease in the glycogen content. Six minutes of GA treatment led to an 18 and a 22% reduction in depolarization- and action potential-induced forces in the skinned fibres, respectively. There was a minor but statistically significant increase in the repriming period, most likely because of an impairment of the Na+–K+-pump function. GA treatment exerted no effect on the maximum Ca2+ release rate from the RyR in the microsomes and the myofibrillar Ca2+ sensitivity in the skinned fibres. These results indicate that reduced glycogen per se can decrease muscle performance due to the impairment of SR Ca2+ release and suggest that although Na+–K+-pump function is adversely affected by reduced glycogen, the extent of the impairment is not sufficient to reduce Ca2+ release from the sarcoplasmic reticulum. This study provides direct evidence that glycogen above a certain amount is required for the preservation of the functional events preceding Ca2+ release from the sarcoplasmic reticulum.


Muscle fatigue Ryanodine receptor Na+–K+-pump Ca2+ release Dihydropyridine receptor 



This study was supported by Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research of Japan (Grant No. 15K01619; M. Wada).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

All the authors declared that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Engineering ScienceUniversity of Electro-CommunicationChofuJapan
  2. 2.Graduate School of Integrated Arts and SciencesHiroshima UniversityHigashihiroshima-shiJapan

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