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NMR Biomed. 2011 Apr;24(3):281-90. doi: 10.1002/nbm.1587. Epub 2010 Sep 22.

Measuring perfusion and bioenergetics simultaneously in mouse skeletal muscle: a multiparametric functional-NMR approach.

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Institute of Myology, NMR Laboratory, Paris, France.


A totally noninvasive set-up was developed for comprehensive NMR evaluation of mouse skeletal muscle function in vivo. Dynamic pulsed arterial spin labeling-NMRI perfusion and blood oxygenation level-dependent (BOLD) signal measurements were interleaved with (31)P NMRS to measure both vascular response and oxidative capacities during stimulated exercise and subsequent recovery. Force output was recorded with a dedicated ergometer. Twelve exercise bouts were performed. The perfusion, BOLD signal, pH and force-time integral were obtained from mouse legs for each exercise. All reached a steady state after the second exercise, justifying the pointwise summation of the last 10 exercises to compensate for the limited (31)P signal. In this way, a high temporal resolution of 2.5  s was achieved to provide a time constant for phosphocreatine (PCr) recovery (τ(PCr)). The higher signal-to-noise ratio improved the precision of τ(PCr) measurement [coefficient of variation (CV) = 16.5% vs CV = 49.2% for a single exercise at a resolution of 30  s]. Inter-animal summation confirmed that τ(PCr) was stable at steady state, but shorter (89.3 ± 8.6  s) than after the first exercise (148  s, p < 0.05). This novel experimental approach provides an assessment of muscle vascular response simultaneously to energetic function in vivo. Its pertinence was illustrated by observing the establishment of a metabolic steady state. This comprehensive tool offers new perspectives for the study of muscle pathology in mice models.

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