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Am J Physiol Cell Physiol. 2010 Nov;299(5):C1136-43. doi: 10.1152/ajpcell.00200.2010. Epub 2010 Jul 28.

Comparison of in vivo postexercise phosphocreatine recovery and resting ATP synthesis flux for the assessment of skeletal muscle mitochondrial function.

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Biomedical NMR, Department of Biomedical Engineering, Eindhoven University of Technology, Eindhoven, The Netherlands.


(31)P magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) has been used to assess skeletal muscle mitochondrial function in vivo by measuring 1) phosphocreatine (PCr) recovery after exercise or 2) resting ATP synthesis flux with saturation transfer (ST). In this study, we compared both parameters in a rat model of mitochondrial dysfunction with the aim of establishing the most appropriate method for the assessment of in vivo muscle mitochondrial function. Mitochondrial dysfunction was induced in adult Wistar rats by daily subcutaneous injections with the complex I inhibitor diphenyleneiodonium (DPI) for 2 wk. In vivo (31)P MRS measurements were supplemented by in vitro measurements of oxygen consumption in isolated mitochondria. Two weeks of DPI treatment induced mitochondrial dysfunction, as evidenced by a 20% lower maximal ADP-stimulated oxygen consumption rate in isolated mitochondria from DPI-treated rats oxidizing pyruvate plus malate. This was paralleled by a 46% decrease in in vivo oxidative capacity, determined from postexercise PCr recovery. Interestingly, no significant difference in resting, ST-based ATP synthesis flux was observed between DPI-treated rats and controls. These results show that PCr recovery after exercise has a more direct relationship with skeletal muscle mitochondrial function than the ATP synthesis flux measured with (31)P ST MRS in the resting state.

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