Two Protocols to Measure Mitochondrial Capacity in Women and Adolescent Girls: A 31P-MRS Preliminary Study

in Pediatric Exercise Science
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The phosphocreatine (PCr) recovery time constant (τ) following exercise provides a measure of mitochondrial oxidative capacity. The purpose of this investigation was to use 2 different protocols to determine τ in adolescent females. 31P-MR spectra were collected during 2 exercise tests in 6 adolescent girls (13.8 ± 0.3 y) and 7 women (23.2 ± 3.4 y). The first test consisted of 23 repeated 4 seconds maximal isometric calf contractions separated by 12-second recovery; PCr recovery between the final 18 contractions was used to calculate τ. The second test was a sustained 20-second maximal contraction; recovery was fitted with an exponential function to measure τ. PCr τ did not significantly differ between groups: (gated exercise: 4 girls: 16 ± 5 s, 7 women: 17 ± 5 s, p; sustained exercise: 6 girls: 19 ± 6 s, 7 women: 19 ± 4 s). Bland-Altman analysis demonstrated a close agreement between sustained and gated exercise. Both gated and sustained exercise appear feasible in a pediatric population, and offer a noninvasive evaluation of mitochondrial oxidative capacity.

Willcocks, Barker, Armstrong, and Williams are with the Children’s Health and Exercise Research Center, and Fulford the Peninsula NIHR Clinical Research Facility, University of Exeter, Exeter, UK. Willcocks is now at the University of Florida. Address author correspondence to Craig Anthony Williams at c.a.williams@exeter.ac.uk.