In isolated, aequorin-injected ferret cardiac muscle we measured the apparent myofilament Ca2+ sensitivity and its relationship to twitch relaxation time in the presence of autonomic perturbations. The Ca2+-tension relation was determined from the peak aequorin luminescence and peak twitch tension measured in muscles across a broad range of bathing [Ca2+] in the presence and absence of acetylcholine (ACh) (1 µM) or isoproterenol (ISN) (1 µM), or both drugs. ACh shifted the relationship of peak tension to (peak) aequorin light leftward, which suggests an increase in myofilament Ca2+ sensitivity, but it did not alter relaxation, which was measured as the time for peak tension to decay by 50% (t1/2R). ISN produced its previously documented effects, i.e., a rightward shift of the relationship of peak tension to peak aequorin light and a decrease in R. ACh abolished the ISN effect on the peak tension-aequorin light relationship but did not reverse the effect of ISN to decrease t1/2R. The effects of ACh and ISN of modulating the apparent myofilament Ca2+ sensitivity in intact muscles, corroborate findings of previous studies in isolated myofibrillar preparations. However, these pertubations of myofilament Ca2+ sensitivity in the intact muscle do not relate to twitch relaxation, measured as t1/2R, since (a) ACh affects the former but not the later and (b) the effect of ISN on the Ca2+-tension relationship is abolished by ACh, while the relaxant effect persists.
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