Cross-Bridge Dynamics in the Contracting Heart

  • Jon N. Peterson
  • Norman R. Alpert
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 453)


The mechanical characteristics of the myosin motor is one of the key determinants of ventricular function. In small mammals there are two myosin isoforms, V1 and V3, with profoundly different performance characteristics. We used myothermal and mechanical analysis of intact papillary muscles from thryoxine (V1) and popylthiouracil (V3) treated rabbit hearts to assess the mechanical attributes of the myosin cross-bridge cycle. The average cross-bridge force time integral for VI papillary muscles is`15 ± 0.02 pNs for the entire isometric twitch and 0.19 ± 0.03 pNs for the portion of the isometric twitch between 0.9 peak isometric force for the rising and declining portions of the twitch. The ratio of V1/V3 for the cross-bridge force time integral for the entire twitch and at the peak of the twitch is 0.5 (p < 0.05) and 0.4 (p < 0.05), respectively. Since the peak of the twitch measurements minimize internal shortening only these will be presented below. The average unitary force and attachment time during the peak of the twitch for V1 hearts was 1.55 ± 0.37 pN and 140 ± 20 msec, respectively. The ratios of V1/V3 for these parameters were 0.6 (p < 0.05) and 0.8 (ns). The cycling rate and duty cycle for V1 were 4.37 ± 0.81 cycles per head-second and 0.66 ± 0.22. The ratios of V1/V3 for cycling rate and duty cycle were 2.8 (p < 0.05) and 2.7 (ns). These measurements are consistent with and help explain the energetic and mechanical function of the intact heart.


Myosin Heavy Chain Papillary Muscle Sarcomere Length Cycling Rate Initial Heat 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jon N. Peterson
    • 1
  • Norman R. Alpert
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Molecular Physiology and BiophysicsUniversity of Vermont College of MedicineBurlingtonUSA

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