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Pflugers Arch. 2004 Mar;447(6):855-66. Epub 2004 Jan 31.

The slow component of oxygen uptake during intense, sub-maximal exercise in man is associated with additional fibre recruitment.

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Institute of Exercise and Sport Sciences, Department of Human Physiology, August Krogh Institute, University of Copenhagen, Universitetsparken 13, 2100 Copenhagen Ø, Denmark.


Single muscle fibre metabolites and pulmonary oxygen uptake (VO2) were measured during moderate and intense, sub-maximal exercise to test the hypothesis that additional fibre recruitment is associated with the slow component of VO2. Seven healthy, male subjects performed 20 min moderate (MOD, approximately 50% of VO(2,max)) and intense (INT, approximately 80% VO(2,max)) cycling at 70 rpm. Glycogen content decreased significantly in type I and IIa fibres during INT, but only in type I fibres during MOD. During INT, creatine phosphate (CP) content decreased significantly both in types I and II fibres in the first 3 min (DeltaCP: 16.0+/-2.7 and 16.8+/-4.7 mmol kg(-1) d.w., respectively) and in the next 3 min (DeltaCP: 16.2+/-4.9 and 25.7+/-6.7 mmol kg(-1) d.w., respectively) with no further change from 6-20 min. CP content was below the pre-exercise level (mean-1 SD) in 11, 37, 70 and 74% of the type I fibres after 0, 3, 6 and 20 min of INT, respectively, and in 13, 45, 83 and 74% of the type II fibres. During INT, VO2 increased significantly by 6+/-1 and 4+/-1% in the periods 3-6 and 6-20 min, respectively (Delta VO(2,(6-3 min)): 0.14+/-0.02 l min(-1)), whereas VO2 was unchanged from 3 to 20 min of MOD. Exponential fitting revealed a slow component of VO2 during INT that appeared after approximately 2.6 min and amounted to 0.24 l min(-1). The present study demonstrates that additional type I and II fibres are recruited with time during intense sub-maximal exercise in temporal association with a significant slow component of VO2.

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