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Eur J Appl Physiol. 2013 Jul;113(7):1775-82. doi: 10.1007/s00421-013-2609-8. Epub 2013 Feb 17.

Regional differences in blood flow, glucose uptake and fatty acid uptake within quadriceps femoris muscle during dynamic knee-extension exercise.

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Department of Health Sciences, Swedish Winter Sports Research Centre, Mid Sweden University, SE-831 25 Östersund, Sweden.


The purpose of the present study was to investigate the regional differences in glucose and fatty acid uptake within skeletal muscle during exercise. Blood flow (BF), glucose uptake (GU) and free fatty acid uptake (FFAU) were measured in four different regions (vastus lateralis, VL; rectus femoris, RF; vastus intermedius, VI; and vastus medialis, VM) of the quadriceps femoris (QF) muscle during low-intensity, knee-extension exercise using positron emission tomography. BF was higher in VI than in VL, RF and VM (P < 0.05). FFAU was higher in VI (P < 0.001) but also in VM (P < 0.05) compared with VL and RF. In contrast, GU was higher in RF compared with VL (P < 0.05) but was not significantly different to VM or VI (both P = NS). FFAU within these four muscle regions correlated significantly with BF (r = 0.951, P < 0.05), whereas no significant relationship was observed between GU and BF (r = 0.352, P = NS). Therefore, skeletal muscle FFAU, but not GU, appears to be associated with BF during low-intensity exercise. The present results also indicate considerable regional differences in substrate use within working QF muscle. As such, an important methodological outcome from these results is that one sample from a specific part of the QF muscle does not represent the response in the entire QF muscle group.

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