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Open Access Publications from the University of California

31P-magnetic resonance spectroscopy of leg muscle metabolism during exercise in children and adults.

  • Author(s): Zanconato, S
  • Buchthal, S
  • Barstow, TJ
  • Cooper, DM
  • et al.

Gas exchange response to high-intensity exercise differs in children and adults. We hypothesized that these findings are related to a lower anaerobic ATP supply in children. We predicted therefore a maturation of muscle high-energy phosphate metabolism during exercise. To test this hypothesis, we measured calf muscle Pi, phosphocreatine (PCr), and pH with 31P-nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy during rest and progressive exercise in 10 children and 8 adults. No differences were found at rest in pH and Pi/PCr between children and adults. Exercise resulted in a greater increase in Pi/PCr (P < 0.001) and decrease in pH (P < 0.0001) in adults than in children. Six adults and five children exhibited a transition from a slow to a faster rate of Pi/PCr increase and pH decrease during exercise. No significant differences were found between the two groups in the initial slow-phase slopes of Pi/PCr and pH as a function of work rate. In contrast, during the fast phase, Pi/PCr increased (slope: adults 23.6 +/- 9.8, children 10.7 +/- 2.5; P < 0.05) and pH decreased (slope: adults -6.0 +/- 1.9, children -3.7 +/- 1.2; P < 0.05) more rapidly in adults than in children. In conclusion, high-intensity exercise results in different kinetics of Pi/PCr and pH between children and adults. These results suggest that children are less able than adults to affect ATP rephosphorylation by anaerobic metabolic pathways during high-intensity exercise.

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