To study the in vivo recruitment of different fiber types and their metabolic properties, 31P-nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (31P-NMRS) of the human calf muscle was performed in seven normal sedentary subjects. In the exhaustive exercise protocol used, the work load was increased every minute during 5 min. This resulted in a prominent split of the Pi resonance in all subjects, indicating pH compartmentation in the muscles studied. From the chemical shift of the Pi peaks relative to phosphocreatine (PCr) at the end of the exercise, intracellular pH (pHi) averaged 6.92 +/- 0.05 (SD) in compartment 1 and 6.23 +/- 0.15 in compartment 2. The recovery of both Pi resonances after exercise could be followed easily in five of these subjects. The recovery rate of the Pi peak is a good estimate of the oxidative metabolism at the end of the exercise. A monoexponential regression analysis showed that the mean initial recovery rate S0 was 2.49 +/- 0.17%/s in compartment 1 and only 0.87 +/- 0.12%/s in compartment 2, indicating aerobic function three times higher in compartment 1 at the end of exercise. The mean relative ATP fraction dropped significantly (P less than 0.001), from 20.0 +/- 1.0% of the total 31P signal integral before exercise to 14.0 +/- 1.6% at the end of exercise. The simultaneous visualization of two compartments, in good order, one with high pHi and fast recovery and another with low pHi and slow recovery, is rationalized by the different metabolic behavior of type I and II fibers in human calf muscle in response to exhaustive exercise. This study demonstrates that 31P-NMRS is an excellent noninvasive procedure to quantify aerobic metabolism in both fiber types simultaneously.
- Copyright © 1990 the American Physiological Society