Potassium and sodium ions in the glycerinated skeletal muscle. Distribution changes induced by adenosine triphosphate and nondissociable anesthetic substances.


Investigation of the ionic behavior of glycerinated muscle fibers showed that the residual structures of this biologic cellular material, lacking functional membranes, are able to discriminate between alkaline ions. The characteristics of the ionic selectivity of the glycerinated fibers change with their functional state and with the presence in the medium of certain nonionic substances. Among the more important features of ionic distribution between the membrane-free fibers and the medium are the following: (1) There is evident adsorption of potassium on the fibers, in the absence of ATP. (2) This adsorption increases in contraction and decreases in relaxation. (3) At high ionic concentrations, in contrast to what occurs at low potassium concentrations, the glycerinated muscle prefers sodium to potassium, but even under these conditions both ions are accumulated in the fibers to far greater levels than in the medium. This strongly suggests a Donnan ionic equilibrium developing parallel to the adsorption process. (4) Nonionic substances of the general anesthetic group markedly alter the ionic selectivity of the glycerinated fibers, probably by their action on the water's physical state. A mechanism is proposed for the observed ionic adsorption specific of the muscle-a mechanism in which actin-myosin coupling plays the cardinal adsorption role. In the general interpretation of the data a synthetic concept is advanced according to which an entire set of processes and factors concurs with the distribution of ions between the muscle and the medium.


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