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J Clin Invest. 1990 Nov;86(5):1423-7.

Skeletal muscle metabolism is a major determinant of resting energy expenditure.

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Clinical Diabetes and Nutrition Section, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Phoenix, Arizona 85016.


Energy expenditure varies among people, independent of body size and composition, and persons with a "low" metabolic rate seem to be at higher risk of gaining weight. To assess the importance of skeletal muscle metabolism as a determinant of metabolic rate, 24-h energy expenditure, basal metabolic rate (BMR), and sleeping metabolic rate (SMR) were measured by indirect calorimetry in 14 subjects (7 males, 7 females; 30 +/- 6 yr [mean +/- SD]; 79.1 +/- 17.3 kg; 22 +/- 7% body fat), and compared to forearm oxygen uptake. Values of energy expenditure were adjusted for individual differences in fat-free mass, fat mass, age, and sex. Adjusted BMR and SMR, expressed as deviations from predicted values, correlated with forearm resting oxygen uptake (ml O2/liter forearm) (r = 0.72, P less than 0.005 and r = 0.53, P = 0.05, respectively). These findings suggest that differences in resting muscle metabolism account for part of the variance in metabolic rate among individuals and may play a role in the pathogenesis of obesity.

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