Phosphate and acidosis act synergistically to depress peak power in rat muscle fibers

Cassandra R Nelson, Edward P Debold, Robert H Fitts
American Journal of Physiology. Cell Physiology 2014 November 15, 307 (10): C939-50
Skeletal muscle fatigue is characterized by the buildup of H(+) and inorganic phosphate (Pi), metabolites that are thought to cause fatigue by inhibiting muscle force, velocity, and power. While the individual effects of elevated H(+) or Pi have been well characterized, the effects of simultaneously elevating the ions, as occurs during fatigue in vivo, are still poorly understood. To address this, we exposed slow and fast rat skinned muscle fibers to fatiguing levels of H(+) (pH 6.2) and Pi (30 mM) and determined the effects on contractile properties. At 30°C, elevated Pi and low pH depressed maximal shortening velocity (Vmax) by 15% (4.23 to 3.58 fl/s) in slow and 31% (6.24 vs. 4.55 fl/s) in fast fibers, values similar to depressions from low pH alone. Maximal isometric force dropped by 36% in slow (148 to 94 kN/m(2)) and 46% in fast fibers (148 to 80 kN/m(2)), declines substantially larger than what either ion exerted individually. The strong effect on force combined with the significant effect on velocity caused peak power to decline by over 60% in both fiber types. Force-stiffness ratios significantly decreased with pH 6.2 + 30 mM Pi in both fiber types, suggesting these ions reduced force by decreasing the force per bridge and/or increasing the number of low-force bridges. The data indicate the collective effects of elevating H(+) and Pi on maximal isometric force and peak power are stronger than what either ion exerts individually and suggest the ions act synergistically to reduce muscle function during fatigue.

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