The Journal of Physiological Sciences

, Volume 67, Issue 1, pp 19–43 | Cite as

Energetics of muscle contraction: further trials

  • Kazuhiro Yamada


Knowledge accumulated in the field of energetics of muscle contraction has been reviewed in this article. Active muscle converts chemical energy into heat and work. Therefore, measurements of heat production and mechanical work provide the framework for understanding the process of energy conversion in contraction. In the 1970s, precise comparison between energy output and the associated chemical reactions was performed. It has been found that the two do not match in several situations, resulting in an energy balance discrepancy. More recently, efforts in resolving these discrepancies in the energy balance have been made involving chemical analysis, phosphorus nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, and microcalorimetry. Through reviewing the evidence from these studies, the energy balance discrepancy developed early during isometric contraction has become well understood on a quantitative basis. In this situation energy balance is established when we take into account the binding of Ca to sarcoplasmic proteins such as troponin and parvalbumin, and also the shift of cross-bridge states. On the other hand, the energy balance discrepancy observed during rapid shortening still remains to be clarified. The problem may be related to the essential mechanism of cross-bridge action.


Muscle heat production Energy balance 31P NMR MRS Calorimetry Calcium binding proteins Actomyosin 



I thank Dr. T. Kodama for useful suggestions.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The author declares that he has no conflict of interest.


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© The Physiological Society of Japan and Springer Japan 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of NeurophysiologyUniversity of Oita Faculty of MedicineYufuJapan

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