Frog ventricular cardiac muscle has structural features which set it apart from frog and mammalian skeletal muscle and mammalian cardiac muscle. In describing these differences, our attention focused chiefly on the distribution of cellular membranes. Abundant inter cellular clefts, the absence of tranverse tubules, and the paucity of sarcotubules, together with exceedingly small cell diameters (less than 5 µ), support the suggestion that the mechanism of excitation-contraction coupling differs in these muscle cells from that now thought to be characteristic of striated muscle such as skeletal muscle and mammalian cardiac muscle. These structural dissimilarities also imply that the mechanism of relaxation in frog ventricular muscle differs from that considered typical of other striated muscles. Additional ultrastructural features of frog ventricular heart muscle include spherical electron-opaque bodies on thin filaments, inconstantly present, forming a rank across the I band about 150 mµ from the Z line, and membrane-bounded dense granules resembling neurosecretory granules. The functional significance of these features is not yet clear.

This content is only available as a PDF.