Summary of the sliding filament theory

Muscle shortening is accomplished by the cyclical formation and dissociation of cross-bridges between thick and thin filaments. The thin filament mainly contains actin (and tropomyosin) and the thick filament is mainly myosin.

The thick and thin filaments do not change in length.

The thick and thin filaments slide past each other, shortening the sarcomere.

The sizes of the H+ zone and the I band are seen to decrease. The Z lines come closer together (shortening of sarcomeres), but the A band remains unaffected.

Adjacent A bands are pulled closer together as the I bands between them shorten.

The cross-bridge detaches from the thin filament.

The cross-bridge returns to its original upright position.

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