Sustained performance by red and white muscle fibres from the dogfish Scyliorhinus canicula
The mechanical performance of red and white muscle fibres from dogfish was compared during a long series of contractions with sinusoidal movement or under isometric conditions at 12 degrees C (normal in vivo temperature). Power output was measured during sinusoidal movement at 0.75 Hz and peak-to-peak amplitude about 12% L(0). Tetanus duty cycle was 33% (0.44 s) at phase -8% (first stimulus at 0.107 s before shortening started). Initially, the red fibres produced only about one third as much power as the white fibres, 6.57+/-0.63 W kg(-1) wet mass (mean +/- s.e.m.) and 18.3+/-2.3, respectively. Red fibres were better at sustaining power output; it declined rapidly to about 60% of its initial value and then remained relatively steady for up to 450 cycles of movement. Force during shortening declined, but force during stretch did not increase: force always relaxed to a low value before stretch started. By contrast, net power output by white fibres declined rapidly to zero within about 50 cycles. Two changes contributed: decline in force during shortening and an increase in force during stretch because relaxation became progressively less complete during the series of contractions. In isometric series (0.44 s stimulation every 1.33 s, cycle frequency 0.75 Hz), red and white fibres sustained peak isometric force similarly; in the 50th cycle force was 59+/-3% and 56+/-4% of initial values. The time required for force to relax to 10% of its maximum value decreased during the series for red fibres and increased for white fibres.