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Enzyme activities in the tibialis anterior muscle of young moderately active men and women: relationship with body composition, muscle cross-sectional area and fibre type composition

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The aims of this study were (i) to assess the differences between men and women in maximal activities of selected enzymes of aerobic and anaerobic pathways involved in skeletal muscle energy production, and (ii) to assess the relationships between maximal enzyme activities, body composition, muscle cross-sectional area (CSA) and fibre type composition. Muscle biopsies were obtained from the tibialis anterior (TA) muscle of 15 men and 15 women (age 20–31 years) with comparable physical activity levels. The muscle CSA was determined by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Maximal activities of lactate dehydrogenase (LDH), phosphofructokinase (PFK), β-hydroxyacyl-coenzyme A dehydrogenase (HAD), succinate dehydrogenase (SDH) and citrate synthase (CS), were assayed spectrophotometrically. The proportion, mean area and relative area (proportion × area) of type 1 and type 2 fibres were determined from muscle biopsies prepared for enzyme histochemistry [myofibrillar adenosine triphosphatase (mATPase)]. The men were significantly taller (+6.6%; P < 0.001) and heavier (+19.1%; P < 0.001), had significantly larger muscle CSA (+19.0%; P < 0.001) and significantly larger areas and relative areas of both type 1 and type 2 fibres (+20.5–31.4%; P = 0.007 to P < 0.001). The men had significantly higher maximal enzyme activities than women for LDH (+27.6%; P = 0.007) and PFK (+25.5%; P = 0.003). There were no significant differences between the men and the women in the activities of HAD (+3.6%; ns), CS (+21.1%; P = 0.084) and SDH (+7.6%; ns). There were significant relationships between height and LDH (r = 0.41; P = 0.023), height and PFK (r = 0.41; P = 0.025), weight and LDH (r = 0.45; P = 0.013), and weight and PFK (r = 0.39; P = 0.032). The relationships were significant between the muscle CSA and the activities of LDH (r = 0.61; P < 0.001) and PFK (r = 0.56; P = 0.001), and between the relative area of type 2 fibres and the activities of LDH (r = 0.49; P = 0.006) and PFK (r = 0.42; P = 0.023). There were no significant relationships between HAD, CS and SDH, and height, weight, muscle CSA and fibre type composition, respectively. These data indicate that the higher maximal activities of LDH and PFK in men are related to the height, weight, muscle CSA and the relative area of type 2 fibres, which are all significantly larger in men than women.
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Keywords: 3-hydroxyacyl CoA dehydrogenases; citrate (si)-synthase; energy metabolism; enzymes; lactate dehydrogenase; magnetic resonance imaging; muscle fibres; phosphofructokinase; sex factors; succinate dehydrogenase

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation Studies, University of Manitoba, Manitoba, Canada 2: Department of Physical Therapy, Lund University, Lund, Sweden 3: Department of Mathematical Sciences, University of Liverpool, UK

Publication date: 2002-11-01

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