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J Appl Physiol (1985). 2007 Feb;102(2):616-21. Epub 2006 Nov 2.

High-intensity exercise acutely decreases the membrane content of MCT1 and MCT4 and buffer capacity in human skeletal muscle.

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  • 1School of Human Movement and Exercise Science, The Univ. of Western Australia, Crawley, WA 6009, Australia.


The regulation of intracellular pH during intense muscle contractions occurs via a number of different transport systems [e.g., monocarboxylate transporters (MCTs)] and via intracellular buffering (beta m(in vitro)). The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of an acute bout of high-intensity exercise on both MCT relative abundance and beta m(in vitro) in humans. Six active women volunteered for this study. Biopsies of the vastus lateralis were obtained at rest and immediately after 45 s of exercise at 200% of maximum O2 uptake. Beta m(in vitro) was determined by titration, and MCT relative abundance was determined in membrane preparations by Western blots. High-intensity exercise was associated with a significant decrease in both MCT1 (-24%) and MCT4 (-26%) and a decrease in beta m(in vitro) (-11%; 135 +/- 3 to 120 +/- 2 micromol H+ x g dry muscle(-1) x pH(-1); P < 0.05). These changes were consistently observed in all subjects, and there was a significant correlation between changes in MCT1 and MCT4 relative abundance (R2 = 0.92; P < 0.05). In conclusion, a single bout of high-intensity exercise decreased both MCT relative abundance in membrane preparations and beta m(in vitro). Until the time course of these changes has been established, researchers should consider the possibility that observed training-induced changes in MCT and beta m(in vitro) may be influenced by the acute effects of the last exercise bout, if the biopsy is taken soon after the completion of the training program. The implications that these findings have for lactate (and H+) transport following acute, exhaustive exercise warrant further investigation.

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