Slow skeletal muscles of the mouse have greater initial efficiency than fast muscles but the same net efficiency
The aim of this study was to determine whether the net efficiency of mammalian muscles depends on muscle fibre type. Experiments were performed in vitro (35é using bundles of muscle fibres from the slow-twitch soleus and fast-twitch extensor digitorum longus (EDL) muscles of the mouse. The contraction protocol consisted of 10 brief contractions, with a cyclic length change in each contraction cycle. Work output and heat production were measured and enthalpy output (work + heat) was used as the index of energy expenditure. Initial efficiency was defined as the ratio of work output to enthalpy output during the first 1 s of activity. Net efficiency was defined as the ratio of the total work produced in all the contractions to the total, suprabasal enthalpy produced in response to the contraction series, i.e. net efficiency incorporates both initial and recovery metabolism. Initial efficiency was greater in soleus (30 ᠱ%; n = 6) than EDL (23 ᠱ%; n = 6) but there was no difference in net efficiency between the two muscles (12.6 ᠰ.7% for soleus and 11.7 ᠰ.5% for EDL). Therefore, more recovery heat was produced per unit of initial energy expenditure in soleus than EDL. The calculated efficiency of oxidative phosphorylation was lower in soleus than EDL. The difference in recovery metabolism between soleus and EDL is unlikely to be due to effects of changes in intracellular pH on the enthalpy change associated with PCr hydrolysis. It is suggested that the functionally important specialization of slow-twitch muscle is its low rate of energy use rather than high efficiency.
The Journal of Physiology
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