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Control Of Muscle Contraction

Setsuro Ebashi, Makoto Endo, Iwao Ohtsuki

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As is well known, the memorable discovery of Galvani (1791) was followed by the development of two new fields of science, electrochemistry and electrophysiology. During the course of this development, the most remarkable feature of the original finding, i.e. ‘contraction of muscle induced by a piece of metal’, gradually came to be ignored. As a consequence, the simple question as to how electrical stimulation might induce muscle contraction was left unanswered until the middle of this century, when several physiologists became aware of the crucial nature of the problem and tried to attack it from various directions. This resulted in a marked progress of physiological and morphological studies which were intentionally or unintentionally concerned with the mechanism of the link between excitation, that is the electrical phenomenon at the surface membrane, and the contractile process.