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J Neurol Sci. 1989 Dec;94(1-3):29-40.

Lipid depletion and repletion in skeletal muscle following a marathon.

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  • 1Department of Zoological and Biomedical Sciences, College of Osteopathic Medicine, Ohio University, Athens 45701.


Intramuscular lipid content was investigated in muscle biopsies from 10 well-trained endurance athletes before, immediately after, and 1, 3, 5, and 7 days after a marathon. Diets were controlled throughout the entire period of the study. Triglyceride content was ultrastructurally determined by the use of stereological methods. The volume percent lipid significantly decreased after the marathon and was lowest at 3 days post-marathon, rising slightly but still 35% lower than the pre-marathon value by 7 days post-marathon. Glycogen granules were abundant and tightly packed in the pre-marathon biopsies, scarce immediately post-marathon, and abundant, but less tightly packed, 7 days post-marathon. Post-marathon fluctuations in the volume percentages of mitochondria indicated possible fluid shifts within the muscle fibers: dehydration immediately post-marathon followed by rehydration with possible edema. Assuming the content of mitochondria remained constant throughout the recovery period, the ratio of the volume percentage of lipid to the volume percentage of mitochondria indicated that lipid content may have reached pre-marathon levels after 7 days post-marathon.

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