Human skeletal muscle plasmalemma alters its structure to change its Ca2+-handling following heavy-load resistance exercise Academic Article uri icon


  • High-force eccentric exercise results in sustained increases in cytoplasmic Ca2+ levels ([Ca2+]cyto), which can cause damage to the muscle. Here we report that a heavy-load strength training bout greatly alters the structure of the membrane network inside the fibres, the tubular (t-) system, causing the loss of its predominantly transverse organization and an increase in vacuolation of its longitudinal tubules across adjacent sarcomeres. The transverse tubules and vacuoles displayed distinct Ca2+-handling properties. Both t-system components could take up Ca2+ from the cytoplasm but only transverse tubules supported store-operated Ca2+ entry. The retention of significant amounts of Ca2+ within vacuoles provides an effective mechanism to reduce the total content of Ca2+ within the fibre cytoplasm. We propose this ability can reduce or limit resistance exercise-induced, Ca2+-dependent damage to the fibre by the reduction of [Ca2+]cyto to help maintain fibre viability during the period associated with delayed onset muscle soreness.


  • Cully, TR
  • Murphy, Robyn M
  • Roberts, L
  • Raastad, T
  • Fassett, RG
  • Coombes, JS
  • Jayasinghe, ID
  • Launikonis, BS

publication date

  • 2017