Simultaneous Heat and Tension Measurements from Single Muscle Cells

  • Nancy A. Curtin
  • J. V. Howarth
  • Jack A. Rall
  • M. G. A. Wilson
  • R. C. Woledge
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 37)


Simultaneous force and heat measurements were made in single cells from skeletal muscle of the frog during isometric twitches and tetani at 10 and 0°C. A Hill-Downing type thermopile of low heat capacity was used. In twitches, peak force development was found to be well correlated with heat production at both temperatures, during posttetanic twitch potentiation (at 10°C) and during posttetanic twitch depression (at 0°C). In a twitch at 0°C, heat production started less than 14 msec after the stimulus had begun, before force development. As in whole muscle, the heat during a tetanus could be separated into two components: an early component produced at an exponentially decreasing rate, labile heat, and a steady rate, stable maintenance heat rate. Increasing temperature from 0 to 10°C doubled the stable maintenance heat rate. At the higher temperature the time constant of labile heat production was halved and the quantity of labile heat decreased. When two tetani were given at 10°C, a 5 min rest interval was required before the second tetanus produced the same force and heat as the first. At 0°C this interval was at least 10 min With shorter intervals, both heat and force were depressed. At 10°C both were depressed equally but at 0°C the effect on heat was greater than on force. At both temperatures labile heat was depressed to a greater extent than the stable maintenance heat rate. Results are interpreted in terms of possible calciumparvalbumin interaction during a tetanus.


Heat Loss Heat Production Rest Interval Stimulation Rate Frog Muscle 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Aubert, X. (1956). Le Couplage Energétique de la Contraction Musculaire, p. 320, Brussels: Editions Arscia.Google Scholar
  2. Aubert, X. (1968). In: Symposium on Muscle, ed. Ernst, E. and Straub, F.B., pp. 187–190, Budapest: Akadémiai Kiadó.Google Scholar
  3. Blinks, J.R., Rüdel, R. and Taylor, S.R. (1978). Calcium transients in isolated amphibian skeletal muscle fibres: detection with aequorin. J. Physiol. 277: 291–323.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Connolly, R, Gough, W. and Winegrad, S. (1971). Characteristics of the isometric twitch of skeletal muscle immediately after a tetanus. A study of the influence of the distribution of calcium within the sarcoplasmic reticulum on the twitch. J. Gen. Physiol. 57: 697–709.Google Scholar
  5. Curtin, N.A. and Woledge, R.C. (1977). A comparison of the energy balance in two successive isometric tetani of frog muscle. J. Physiol. 270: 455–471.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. Curtin, N.A. and Woledge, R.C. (1978). Energy changes and muscular contraction. Physiol. Rev. 58: 690–761.Google Scholar
  7. Curtin, N.A., Howarth, J.V. and Woledge, R.C. (1981). Measurement of heat produced by single fibres from frog skeletal muscle. J. Physiol. 313: 61–62 P.Google Scholar
  8. Hill, A.V. (1958). The priority of the heat production in a muscle twitch. Proc. R. Soc. B 148: 397–402.Google Scholar
  9. Homsher, E. and Kean, C.J. (1978). Skeletal muscle energetics and metabolism. Ann. Rev. Physiol. 40: 90–131.Google Scholar
  10. Kretzschmar, K.M. and Wilkie, D.R. (1972). A new method for absolute heat measurement, utilizing the Peltier effect. J. Physiol. 224: 18–19 P.Google Scholar
  11. Kretzchmar, K.M. and Wilkie, D.R. (1975). The use of the Peltier effect for simple and accurate calibration of thermoelectric devices. Proc. R. Soc. B 190: 315–321.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Líinnergren, J. and Smith, R.S. (1966). Types of muscle fibres in toad skeletal muscle. Acta Physiol scand. 68: 283–274.Google Scholar
  13. Ramsey, R.W. and Street, S.F. (1941). Muscle function as studied in single muscle fibers. In: Muscle, Biological Symposia, vol. 3, ed. Fenn, W.O., pp. 9–34, Lancaster, Pa: Cattell.Google Scholar
  14. Woledge, R.C. (1982). Is labile heat characteristic of muscles with a high parvalbumin content? Observations on the retractor capitis muscle of the terrapin Pseudemys elegans scripts. J. Physiol. 324: 21 P.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nancy A. Curtin
    • 1
  • J. V. Howarth
    • 2
  • Jack A. Rall
    • 3
  • M. G. A. Wilson
    • 4
  • R. C. Woledge
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of PhysiologyCharing Cross Hospital Medical SchoolLondonEngland
  2. 2.Marine Biological AssociationPlymouthEngland
  3. 3.Department of PhysiologyOhio State UniversityColumbusUSA
  4. 4.Department of PhysiologyUniversity College LondonLondonEngland

Personalised recommendations