Concerning the Action of small quantities of Calcium, Sodium, and Potassium Salts upon the Vitality and Function of Contractile Tissue and the Cuticular Cells of Fishes

Sydney Ringer, Dudley W. Buxton
1885 Journal of Physiology  
IN previously published papers we have shown that very minute quantities of Potassium and Calcium Salts possess the power of influencing the contractility of the heart. We have pointed out that even so minute a quantity of Potassium chloride as 1 in 15,000 and of Calcium chloride as 1 in 10,000 is capable of promoting the normal cardiac contractility provided they are brought into contact with the heart ventricle in the presence of a simple [3 /j] saline medium. We do not even attempt to
more » ... in this place how such minute quantities of inorganic salts can influence so profoundly the organised structure of the heart. However, it may be said that it does not seem improbable, that the salts do not enter into direct combination with the molecules of the muscular tissue; and further that if any combination exists it is of an extremely loose character since the salts are easily dislodged and washed away by the mere circulation of a fluid devoid of these salts. But it appears necessary, in order that contraction should take place, that minute quantities of these salts should be present in the fluid environing the muscular tissue. The same condition also obtains for plants. Thus we read: " Whilst carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen and sulphur maiinly comprise the organised parts of a plant,-potassium, calcium, magnesium and iron are of less importance if only in consequence of their much smaller quantity; they appear to promote chemical decomposition and combination in plants in consequence of
doi:10.1113/jphysiol.1885.sp000193 pmid:16991412 fatcat:de7skbbdsnhode5jm5t53545r4