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VPP 3211

Veterinary Anatomy 1
Sliding Filament Theory & Purkinje Fibres
Lecturer: Dr Lokman Hakim Idris

Name: Ng Chin Leon
Matric Number: 172614
Sliding Filament Theory
The theory of skeletal muscle contraction, also known as the sliding filament theory,
was founded by two groups of people, A.F. Huxley and Niedergerke (1954), and H.E.
Huxley and Hanson (1954).
At a very basic level each muscle fiber is made up of smaller fibers called myofibrils.
These myofibrils contain even smaller structures called actin and myosin, which are
the thin and thick filaments respectively.

The above figures show one sarcomere, which starts from a Z-line and ends at the
next. The A band is a region where its darker, consisting of the myosin filament
while the I band is the lighter band, which make up the rest of the fibre without the
myosin filament.
According to the sliding filament theory, when the muscle is at rest, ATP is bound to
the myosin head. When a nerve impulse arrives at the neuromuscular junction, the
signal is relayed in the form of acetylcholine to the motor end plate. This causes the
depolarization of the motor end plate, travelling throughout the muscle tubules of the
muscle fibre, inducing the release of Calcium ions from the sarcoplasmic reticulum.
The released Calcium ions will bind to the troponin, causing conformational changes
in the tropomyosin, thus exposing the binding site on the actin. The myosin head is
now able to bind to the binding site of the actin, forming a cross-bridge. However,
Myosin Head
before this can happen, the ATP bound to the myosin head must be hydrolysed to
ADP and inorganic phosphate, realizing energy which causes the myosin head to be
cocked. As the ADP and inorganic phosphate were released gradually, the myosin
head to pull the actin inwards, thus shortening the muscle. This is known as a power
stroke As another ATP molecule binds to the myosin head, the myosin head detaches
itself from the actin, and the myosin head is cocked due to the energy released by the
hydrolysis of ATP. The cycle repeats until the muscle has reached its maximum
contraction, or there is no more ATP or Calcium ions present.
When there is no more nerve stimulation, acetylcholine will be broken down by
acetylcholinesterase present in the synaptic cleft of the myoneural junction. Calcium
ions will be reabsorbed into the sarcoplasmic reticulum, the tropomyosin will regain
its original conformation, and the binding site on the actin will no longer be exposed

Purkinje Fibres

Purkinje fibres are specialized muscle fibres consisting of cardiomyocytes that are
located in the inner walls of the ventricles, in a space beneath the endocardium, called
the subendocardium. The electrical impulse originates from the sinoatrial(SA) node
and spreads to the atrioventricular(AV) node, where it is relayed to the His bundle,
left and right bundle branch and finally the Purkinje fibres. These fibres are spread all
around the ventricular walls. The cardiomyocytes are able to conduct cardiac action
potentials at a speed between one to four m/s, causing the contraction of the ventricles
to be almost instantaneous.
The Purkinje fibres are stained
lighter than the cardiac muscle
cells, besides being larger. They
contain numerous fast voltage-
gated sodium channels and
mitochondria, and less
myofibrils than surrounding
cells. All these features enable
the rapid transmission of nerve
impulses, thus synchronizing the contraction of both the right and left ventricles.