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4 24 D. J. A I D L E Y If the amplitude of the electrical response to nervous stimulation is reduced by means of neuromuscular blocking agents, the twitch tension is also reduced, as is shown in Fig. 4. Perfusion of a muscle with salines containing high potassium ion concentrations causes depolarization and contraction. In the metathoracic spiracular muscle of locusts (Hoyle, 1961), the threshold for the development of this contracture occurs at a potassium ion concentration of about 30 m~ (membrane potential - 34 mv) ; contracture tension increases with increasing potassium ion concentration to reach the maximum level at about 70 m~ (membrane potential - 18 mv).

1965). etal muscle. In “The Physiology of Insects" (M. ) vol. 2, pp. 407-449. Academic Press, New York and London. Ikeda, K. and Boettiger, E. G. (1965a). Studies on the flight mechanism of insects. 11. The innervation and electrical activity of the fibrillar muscles of the bumble bee, Bombus. J. Insect Physiol. 11, 779-789. Ikeda, K. and Boettiger, E. G. (1965b). Studies on the flight mechanism of insects. 111. The innervation and electrical activity of the basalar fibrillar flight muscle of the beetle, Oryctes rhinoceros.

Further evidence for a direct action of carbon dioxide on the coupling process of the locust spiracular muscle has been adduced by Hoyle from experiments in which he measured the effects of a brief “pulse” of carbon dioxide on the size of the postsynaptic potentials of individual fibres and the twitch tension of the whole muscle (Hoyle, 1960). It was found that a “hysteresis” effect occurred, in which the size of the postsynaptic potential fell and rose more rapidly than the twitch tension. These experiments cannot be considered conclusive, however, since the whole cycle of depression and recovery lasted only a few seconds, a time which is probably comparable with the diffusioii delay which must occur between the carbon dioxide affecting fibres in different parts of the muscle.

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