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J Appl Physiol (1985). 2013 Jan 15;114(2):230-7. doi: 10.1152/japplphysiol.01043.2012. Epub 2012 Nov 15.

A comparison of exercise type and intensity on the noninvasive assessment of skeletal muscle mitochondrial function using near-infrared spectroscopy.

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Department of Kinesiology, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia 30602, USA.


Near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) can be used to measure muscle oxygen consumption (mVO(2)) using arterial occlusions. The recovery rate of mVO(2) after exercise can provide an index of skeletal muscle mitochondrial function. The purpose of this study was to test the influence of exercise modality and intensity on NIRS measurements of mitochondrial function. Three experiments were performed. Thirty subjects (age: 18-27 yr) were tested. NIRS signals were corrected for blood volume changes. The recovery of mVO(2) after exercise was fit to a monoexponential curve, and a rate constant was calculated (directly related to mitochondrial function). No differences were found in NIRS rate constants for VOL and ES exercises (2.04 ± 0.57 vs. 2.01 ± 0.59 min(-1) for VOL and ES, respectively; P = 0.317). NIRS rate constants were independent of the contraction frequency for both VOL and ES (VOL: P = 0.166 and ES: P = 0.780). ES current intensity resulted in significant changes to the normalized time-tension integral (54 ± 11, 82 ± 7, and 100 ± 0% for low, medium, and high currents, respectively; P < 0.001) but did not influence NIRS rate constants (2.02 ± 0.54, 1.95 ± 0.44, 2.02 ± 0.46 min(-1) for low, medium, and high currents, respectively; P = 0.771). In summary, NIRS measurements of skeletal muscle mitochondrial function can be compared between VOL and ES exercises and were independent of the intensity of exercise. NIRS represents an important new technique that is practical for testing in research and clinical settings.

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