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J Appl Physiol (1985). 2002 Jun;92(6):2264-72.

Content of intramyocellular lipids derived by electron microscopy, biochemical assays, and (1)H-MR spectroscopy.

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Department of Anatomy, University of Bern, CH-3000 Bern, Switzerland.


Three different methods to determine intramyocellular lipid (IMCL) contents in human skeletal muscle have been compared. (1)H-magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) was evaluated against electron microscopic morphometry and biochemical assays of biopsy samples from m. tibialis anterior of 10 healthy subjects. The results of (1)H-MRS and morphometry were strongly correlated, proving the validity of the (1)H-MRS results for the noninvasive determination of IMCL. Biochemical assays yielded results that did not significantly correlate with the results of the other methods. When IMCL levels obtained from the three methods are expressed in common units, it was found that (1)H-MRS yielded IMCL average levels that were 1.8 times lower than those found by morphometry. Potential reasons for the discrepancy are discussed. It is expected that (1)H-MRS will be suitable to replace invasive techniques for IMCL determination, whenever noninvasiveness is crucial, e.g., for repeated investigations in studies of substrate recruitment and recovery in exercise.

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