Unchanged muscle fiber conduction velocity relates to mild acidosis during exhaustive bicycling

J.P.J. Schmitz, J.P. Dijk, van, P.A.J. Hilbers, K. Nicolay, J.A.L. Jeneson, D.F. Stegeman

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Muscle fiber conduction velocity (MFCV) has often been shown to decrease during standardized fatiguing isometric contractions. However, several studies have indicated that the MFCV may remain constant during fatiguing dynamic exercise. It was investigated if these observations can be related to the absence of a large decrease in pH and if MFCV can be considered as a good indicator of acidosis, also during dynamic bicycle exercise. High-density surface electromyography (HDsEMG) was combined with read-outs of muscle energetics recorded by in vivo 31P magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS). Measurements were performed during serial exhausting bouts of bicycle exercise at three different workloads. The HDsEMG recordings revealed a small and incoherent variation of MFCV during all high-intensity exercise bouts. 31P MRS spectra revealed a moderate decrease in pH at the end of exercise (~0.3 units down to 6.8) and a rapid ancillary drop to pH 6.5 during recovery 30 s post-exercise. This additional degree of acidification caused a significant decrease in MFCV during cycling immediately after the rest period. From the data a significant correlation between MFCV and [H+] ([H+] = 10-pH) was calculated (p <0.001, Pearson’s R = -0.87). Our results confirmed the previous observations of MFCV remaining constant during fatiguing dynamic exercise. A constant MFCV is in line with a low degree of acidification, considering the presence of a correlation between pH and MFCV after further increasing acidification.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1593-1602
JournalEuropean Journal of Applied Physiology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2012


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