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A chloride channel blocker prevents the suppression by inorganic phosphate of the cytosolic calcium signals that control muscle contraction.

  • Ferreira, Juan J1
  • Pequera, Germán1
  • Launikonis, Bradley S2
  • Ríos, Eduardo3
  • Brum, Gustavo1
  • 1 Laboratorio de Biofísica del Músculo, Departamento de Biofísica, Facultad de Medicina, Montevideo, Uruguay. , (Uruguay)
  • 2 School of Biomedical Sciences, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. , (Australia)
  • 3 Section of Cellular Signaling, Department of Physiology and Biophysics, Rush University, Chicago, IL, USA.
Published Article
The Journal of Physiology
Wiley (Blackwell Publishing)
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2021
DOI: 10.1113/JP279917
PMID: 32991741


Accumulation of inorganic phosphate (Pi ) may contribute to muscle fatigue by precipitating calcium salts inside the sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR). Neither direct demonstration of this process nor definition of the entry pathway of Pi into SR are fully established. We showed that Pi promoted Ca2+ release at concentrations below 10 mm and decreased it at higher concentrations. This decrease correlated well with that of [Ca2+ ]SR . Pre-treatment of permeabilized myofibres with 2 mm Cl- channel blocker 9-anthracenecarboxylic acid (9AC) inhibited both effects of Pi . The biphasic dependence of Ca2+ release on [Pi ] is explained by a direct effect of Pi acting on the SR Ca2+ release channel, combined with the intra-SR precipitation of Ca2+ salts. The effects of 9AC demonstrate that Pi enters the SR via a Cl- pathway of an as-yet-undefined molecular nature. Fatiguing exercise causes hydrolysis of phosphocreatine, increasing the intracellular concentration of inorganic phosphate (Pi ). Pi diffuses into the sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR) where it is believed to form insoluble Ca2+ salts, thus contributing to the impairment of Ca2+ release. Information on the Pi entrance pathway is still lacking. In amphibian muscles endowed with isoform 3 of the RyR channel, Ca2+ spark frequency is correlated with the Ca2+ load of the SR and can be used to monitor this variable. We studied the effects of Pi on Ca2+ sparks in permeabilized fibres of the frog. Relative event frequency (f/fref ) rose with increasing [Pi ], reaching 2.54 ± 1.6 at 5 mm, and then decreased monotonically, reaching 0.09 ± 0.03 at [Pi ] = 80 mm. Measurement of [Ca2+ ]SR confirmed a decrease correlated with spark frequency at high [Pi ]. A large [Ca2+ ]SR surge was observed upon Pi removal. Anion channels are a putative path for Pi into the SR. We tested the effect of the chloride channel blocker 9-anthracenecarboxylic acid (9AC) on Pi entrance. 9AC (400 µm) applied to the cytoplasm produced a non-significant increase in spark frequency and reduced the Pi effects on this parameter. Fibre treatment with 2 mm 9AC in the presence of high cytoplasmic Mg2+ suppressed the effects of Pi on [Ca2+ ]SR and spark frequency up to 55 mm [Pi ]. These results suggest that chloride channels (or transporters) provide the main pathway of inorganic phosphate into the SR and confirm that Pi impairs Ca2+ release by accumulating and precipitating with Ca2+ inside the SR, thus contributing to myogenic fatigue. © 2020 The Authors. The Journal of Physiology © 2020 The Physiological Society.

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