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J Appl Physiol (1985). 2013 May;114(9):1211-9. doi: 10.1152/japplphysiol.01439.2012. Epub 2013 Feb 14.

PET/CT imaging of age- and task-associated differences in muscle activity during fatiguing contractions.

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Department of Integrative Physiology, University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado 80523-1582, USA.


The study compared positron emission tomography/computed tomography (PET/CT) of [(18)F]-2-fluoro-2-deoxy-D-glucose ([(18)F]-FDG) uptake by skeletal muscles and the amount of muscle activity as indicated by surface electromyographic (EMG) recordings when young and old men performed fatiguing isometric contractions that required either force or position control. EMG signals were recorded from thigh muscles of six young men (26 ± 6 yr) and six old men (77 ± 6 yr) during fatiguing contractions with the knee extensors. PET/CT scans were performed immediately after task failure. Glucose uptake in 24 leg muscles, quantified as standardized uptake values, was greater for the old men after the force task and differed across tasks for the young men (force, 0.64 ± 0.3 g/ml; position, 0.73 ± 0.3 g/ml), but not the old men (force, 0.84 ± 0.3 g/ml; position, 0.79 ± 0.26 g/ml) (age × task interaction; P < 0.001). In contrast, the rate of increase in EMG amplitude for the agonist muscles was greater for the young men during the two contractions and there was no difference for either group of subjects in the rate of increase in EMG amplitude across the two tasks. The imaging estimates of glucose uptake indicated age- and task-dependent differences in the spatial distribution of [(18)F]-FDG uptake by skeletal muscles during fatiguing contractions. The findings demonstrate that PET/CT imaging of [(18)F]-FDG uptake, but not surface EMG recordings, detected the modulation of muscle activity across the fatiguing tasks by the young men but not the old men.


electromyogram; muscle fatigue; positron emission tomography

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