Measurement of force and calcium release using mechanically skinned fibers from mammalian skeletal muscle Academic Article uri icon


  • The mechanically skinned (or “peeled”) skeletal muscle fiber technique is a highly versatile procedure that allows controlled examination of each of the steps in the excitation-contraction (EC)-coupling sequence in skeletal muscle fibers, starting with excitation/depolarization of the transverse tubular (T)-system through to Ca2+ release from sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR) and finally force development by the contractile apparatus. It can also show the overall response of the whole EC-coupling sequence together, such as in twitch and tetanic force responses. A major advantage over intact muscle fiber preparations is that it is possible to set and rapidly manipulate the “intracellular” conditions, allowing examination of the effects of key variables (e.g., intracellular pH, ATP levels, redox state, etc.) on each individual step in EC coupling. This Cores of Reproducibility in Physiology (CORP) article describes the rationale, procedures, and experimental details of the various ways in which the mechanically skinned fiber technique is used in our laboratory to examine the physiological mechanisms controlling Ca2+ release and contraction in skeletal muscle fibers and the aberrations and dysfunction occurring with exercise and disease.

publication date

  • 2018