Cellular energetics in hypothyroid muscle

D J Taylor, B Rajagopalan, G K Radda
European Journal of Clinical Investigation 1992, 22 (5): 358-65
Skeletal muscle of seven hypothyroid patients was investigated in the resting state and during exercise and recovery using 31P magnetic resonance spectroscopy. The bioenergetics and intracellular pH of the hypothyroid muscle were thus evaluated and compared with results from normal muscle and muscle of patients with mitochondrial myopathy. In resting hypothyroid muscle there were significant elevations in the concentration ratios of phosphocreatine/ATP and inorganic phosphate/ATP, while phosphocreatine/inorganic phosphate and intracellular pH were lower than normal. In exercising hypothyroid muscle, energy stores were depleted more rapidly and acidification began later than in normal muscle. Recovery of phosphocreatine to the pre-exercise value was normal, but intracellular pH recovered slowly. The data suggest that in the hypothyroid state, glycogen breakdown in skeletal muscle was delayed thereby limiting the substrate supply for both glycolytic and oxidative production of ATP at the beginning of exercise. There was no evidence for a decrease in the oxidative capacity of the muscle of our patients, but elevated ADP may have stimulated oxidative metabolism and helped to compensate for low mitochondrial content. The low intracellular pH in resting muscle and the slow pH recovery after exercise imply that proton handling was abnormal in the hypothyroid muscle.

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