A nerve-muscle preparation from the sculpin Myoxocephalus scorpius was used to study the membrane response of fast and slow muscle fibres to stimulation of the spinal nerves. There was no significant difference between resting potential in fast (−81.9mV) and slow fibres (−80.8mV). Fast fibres responded to a suprathreshold stimulus in the spinal nerve with an action potential. Overshoots of up to +32 mV were recorded. Both junction potentials and overshooting action potentials were observed in the slow fibres.
The twitch/tetanus characteristics of myotomal muscle were investigated using isolated bundles of ‘live’ fast and slow fibres. Both fibre types responded to a single stimulus with a mechanical twitch. Fused tetani were obtained at around 50Hz in fast fibres and 20 Hz in slow fibres. In the slow fibres, tetanic tension increased with frequency up to around 50Hz. At frequencies giving maximum tetanic tension, the twitch/tetanus ratio was 0.70 for fast fibres and 0.29 for slow ones.
These results are discussed with reference to the polyneuronal/multiterminal innervation pattern of the myotomal muscle in teleost fish and its role in locomotion.