Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Summary The effects of ruthenium red (RR) on amphibian and mammalian skeletal muscles and mammalian myocardium were examined. In skeletal muscle cells, a discrete pattern of staining can be brought about within the lumina of the terminal cisternae (junctional sarcoplasmic reticulum [SR]) by sequential exposure to RR and OsO4. After prolonged immersion in RR solution, formation of pentalaminar segments (“zippering”) occurs at various points along the longitudinal (“network”) SR tubules. Zippering can be elicited in skeletal SR at any stage of preparation prior to postfixation with OsO4. By means of dispersive X-ray analysis, both ruthenium and osmium were seen to be deposited in skeletal muscle junctional SR, and ruthenium was detected in the myoplasm as well. In skeletal muscles whose T tubules were ruptured by exposure to glycerol, the pattern of SR staining and zippering resulting from ruthenium-osmium treatment was not affected. These findings indicate that RR is capable of passage across the sarcolemma of skeletal muscle and that this passage does not occur solely under conditions in which the plasma membrane is damaged. In contrast, RR does not opacify or modify any region of the SR of cardiac muscle. However, after this treatment, randomly distributed opaque bodies, composed of parallel lamellar structures, appear throughout the myocardial cells. A few of these bodies are associated with lipid droplets, but the rest are of unknown origin. The failure of the SR of cardiac muscle to stain after exposure to ruthenium dye (even though this material enters these cells) suggests that the chemical composition of cardiac SR is significantly different from that of skeletal muscle SR.
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