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Pflugers Arch. 1977 Jun 8;369(2):141-9.

The effect of long-term stimulation of fast muscles on their blood flow, metabolism and ability to withstand fatigue.


Chronic stimulation of fast rabbit muscles (tibialis anterior, extensor digitorum longus and the peroneal muscle group) at a frequency naturally occurring in nerves to slow muscles increased their ability to withstand fatigue. Isometric tension decreased during a 10-min period of contractions at 4 Hz by 75% in control muscles, but only 55% in muscles chronically stimulated for 4 days, and 23% in muscles stimulated for 28 days. Chronic stimulation had little effect on resting blood flow, oxygen or glucose consumption. The output or consumption of lactate and free fatty acids (FFA) at rest were also unaffected. The glycogen content was regularly increased, and was apparent after only 2 days of stimulation. The activity of fatty acid activating enzyme was increased after 28 days. During a 10-min period of isometric contractions at 4 Hz, there was a markedly greater increase in blood flow and oxygen consumption in muscles stimulated for 14-28 days than in control muscles; lactic acid output was lower in muscles stimulated for 28 days, and the uptake of FFA was significantly higher. It is therefore suggested that muscles chronically stimulated for 14-28 days use fats as the main source of energy during isometric contractions. The predominantly oxidative metabolism is probably facilitated by the higher density of capillaries. The latter also enables more efficient delivery of oxygen, and therefore smaller fatiguability, already after 4 days of chronic stimulation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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