Thick Filament Length Changes in Muscle Have Both Elastic and Structural Components

Massimo Reconditi, Luca Fusi, Marco Caremani, Elisabetta Brunello, Marco Linari, Gabriella Piazzesi, Vincenzo Lombardi, Malcolm Irving*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorialpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Muscle is a biological machine for producing force and movement, and the physical concept of elasticity has long been fundamental to ideas about the mechanism of muscle contraction. In the original concept of the sliding filament theory, the contractile filaments were considered to be inextensible, but x-ray measurements of filament periodicities in contracting muscles in the 1990s (1, 2) showed that both the thick (myosin-containing) and thin (actin-containing) filaments are in fact compliant. The elastic extension of each filament is ∼0.3% of its length under the force (T0) generated by a fully activated muscle at fixed muscle length. This discovery led to some quantitative refinement of ideas about the mechanism of contraction without changing the fundamental concepts.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)983-984
Number of pages2
JournalBiophysical Journal
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 19 Mar 2019


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