Form Birefringence of Muscle

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Physics (HMC)

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We investigate the sensitivity of measurements of muscle birefringence to cross-bridge dynamics in the resting, active, and rigor states. The theory of form birefringence is reviewed, and an optical model is constructed for the form birefringence of muscle. Values for the parameters in the model are selected or deduced from the literature. As an illustration of the use of the model, plausible distributions for the orientations of cross-bridges in the resting, active, and rigor states are constructed using a model for cross-bridge dynamics suggested by Huxley and Kress (1985). The general magnitude of the predictions of our model is comparable with that of published measurements of muscle birefringence. However, the precise values of the predicted birefringence for the resting, active, and rigor states are sensitive to the assumed orientations of cross-bridges. We also investigate the dependence of muscle birefringence on sarcomere length and on disorder in the orientation of the myofilament array. We conclude that measurements of muscle birefringence can play a useful role in distinguishing between proposed models of cross-bridge dynamics.

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©1989 Elsevier

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