Residual force enhancement (RFE) is the increase in steady-state force after active stretch relative to the force during isometric contraction at the same final length. The muscular dystrophy with myositis (mdm) mutation in mice, characterized by a small deletion in N2A titin, has been proposed to prevent N2A titin–actin interactions so that active mdm muscles are more compliant than wild type (WT). This decrease in active muscle stiffness is associated with reduced RFE. We investigated RFE in permeabilized soleus (SOL) and extensor digitorum longus (EDL) fiber bundles from WT and mdm mice. On each fiber bundle, we performed active and passive stretches from an average sarcomere length of 2.6–3.0 µm at a slow rate of 0.04 µm s−1, as well as isometric contractions at the initial and final lengths. One-way ANOVA showed that SOL and EDL fiber bundles from mdm mice exhibited significantly lower RFE than WT mice (P<0.0001). This result is consistent with previous observations in single myofibrils and intact muscles. However, it contradicts the results from a previous study that appeared to show that compensatory mechanisms could restore titin force enhancement in single fibers from mdm psoas. We suggest that RFE measured previously in mdm single fibers was an artifact of the high variability in passive tension found in degenerating fibers, which begins after ∼24 days of age. The results are consistent with the hypothesis that RFE is reduced in mdm skeletal muscles owing to impaired Ca2+-dependent titin–actin interactions resulting from the small deletion in N2A titin.

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