Simultaneous measurements of intracellular pH (pHi) and tension development were made in resting cat papillary muscles and resting ventricular myocytes (cat, guinea pig). pH microelectrodes and the fluorescent indicator carboxy-seminaphthorhodafluor-1 (SNARF-1) were used to measure pHi in muscles and myocytes, respectively. pHi-induced changes in isometric muscle tension and myocyte length were elicited by variations in PCO2, HCO3-, and [NH4Cl]. Increased pHi elevated resting tension and decreased resting cell length, whereas decreased pHi decreased tension and increased cell length. The tension-pHi and cell length-pHi relationships were nonlinear and displayed hysteresis. A reduction in extracellular [Ca2+] from 2.7 to 0.5 mM caused little or no change in the tension and cell length responses to elevated pHi. Ca2+ uptake and/or release by the sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR) does not appear to be involved in the tension response to intracellular alkalosis because the response was unaffected by a postpacing rest period and was not inhibited by ryanodine (5 microM), which depletes SR Ca2+ stores. The cross-bridge inhibitor 2,3-butanedione monoxime (15 mM), but not internal dialysis with 14 mM ethylene glycol-bis(beta-aminoethyl ether)N,N,N',N'-tetraacetic acid, inhibited myocyte contractures elicited by elevated pHi. The latter finding suggests that factors other than pHi-induced increase in myofilament Ca2+ sensitivity may contribute to the resting contractile response to elevated pHi.
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