Velocity, force, power, and Ca2+ sensitivity of fast and slow monkey skeletal muscle fibers

Robert H. Fitts, Sue C. Bodine, Janell G. Romatowski, Jeffrey J. Widrick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


In this study, we determined the contractile properties of single chemically skinned fibers prepared from the medial gastrocnemius (MG) and soleus (Sol) muscles of adult male rhesus monkeys and assessed the effects of the spaceflight living facility known as the experiment support primate facility (ESOP). Muscle biopsies were obtained 4 wk before and immediately after an 18-day ESOP sit, and fiber type was determined by immunohistochemical techniques. The MG slow type I fiber was significantly smaller than the MG type II, Sol type I, and Sol type II fibers. The ESOP sit caused a significant reduction in the diameter of type I and type I/II (hybrid) fibers of Sol and MG type II and hybrid fibers but no shift in fiber type distribution. Single-fiber peak force (mN and kN/m2) was similar between fiber types and was not significantly different from values previously reported for other species. The ESOP sit significantly reduced the force (mN) of Sol type I and MG type II fibers. This decline was entirely explained by the atrophy of these fiber types because the force per cross- sectional area (kN/m2) was not altered. Peak power of Sol and MG fast type II fiber was 5 and 8.5 times that of slow type I fiber, respectively. The ESOP sit reduced peak power by 25 and 18% in Sol type I and MG type II fibers, respectively, and, for the former fiber type, shifted the force-pCa relationship to the right, increasing the Ca2+ activation threshold and the free Ca2+ concentration, eliciting half-maximal activation. The ESOP sit had no effect on the maximal shortening velocity (V(o)) of any fiber type. V(o) of the hybrid fibers was only slightly higher than that of slow type I fibers. This result supports the hypothesis that in hybrid fibers the slow myosin heavy chain would be expected to have a disproportionately greater influence on V(o).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1776-1787
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Applied Physiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1998


  • Rhesus monkey muscle
  • Slow type I and fast type II fibers
  • Spaceflight facility

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Endocrinology
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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