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J Appl Physiol (1985). 2011 Sep;111(3):782-90. doi: 10.1152/japplphysiol.01021.2010. Epub 2011 Jun 30.

Muscle damage alters the metabolic response to dynamic exercise in humans: a 31P-MRS study.

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  • 1School of Sport and Health Sciences, Univ. of Exeter, St. Luke's Campus, Heavitree Road, Exeter EX12LU, UK.


We used ³¹P-magnetic resonance spectroscopy to test the hypothesis that exercise-induced muscle damage (EIMD) alters the muscle metabolic response to dynamic exercise, and that this contributes to the observed reduction in exercise tolerance following EIMD in humans. Ten healthy, physically active men performed incremental knee extensor exercise inside the bore of a whole body 1.5-T superconducting magnet before (pre) and 48 h after (post) performing 100 squats with a load corresponding to 70% of body mass. There were significant changes in all markers of muscle damage [perceived muscle soreness, creatine kinase activity (434% increase at 24 h), and isokinetic peak torque (16% decrease at 24 h)] following eccentric exercise. Muscle phosphocreatine concentration ([PCr]) and pH values during incremental exercise were not different pre- and post-EIMD (P > 0.05). However, resting inorganic phosphate concentration ([P(i)]; pre: 4.7 ± 0.8; post: 6.7 ± 1.7 mM; P < 0.01) and, consequently, [P(i)]/[PCr] values (pre: 0.12 ± 0.02; post: 0.18 ± 0.05; P < 0.01) were significantly elevated following EIMD. These mean differences were maintained during incremental exercise (P < 0.05). Time to exhaustion was significantly reduced following EIMD (519 ± 56 and 459 ± 63 s, pre- and post-EIMD, respectively, P < 0.001). End-exercise pH (pre: 6.75 ± 0.04; post: 6.83 ± 0.04; P < 0.05) and [PCr] (pre: 7.2 ± 1.7; post: 14.5 ± 2.1 mM; P < 0.01) were higher, but end-exercise [P(i)] was not significantly different (pre: 19.7 ± 1.9; post: 21.1 ± 2.6 mM, P > 0.05) following EIMD. The results indicate that alterations in phosphate metabolism, specifically the elevated [P(i)] at rest and throughout exercise, may contribute to the reduced exercise tolerance observed following EIMD.

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