Acute high-intensity exercise and skeletal muscle mitochondrial respiratory function: Role of metabolic perturbation

Matthew T. Lewis, Gregory M. Blain, Corey R. Hart, Gwenael Layec, Matthew J. Rossman, Song Young Park, Joel D. Trinity, Jayson R. Gifford, Simranjit K. Sidhu, Joshua C. Weavil, Thomas J. Hureau, Jacob E. Jessop, Amber D. Bledsoe, Markus Amann, Russell S. Richardson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Recently it was documented that fatiguing, high-intensity exercise resulted in a significant attenuation in maximal skeletal muscle mitochondrial respiratory capacity, potentially due to the intramuscular metabolic perturbation elicited by such intense exercise. With the utilization of intrathecal fentanyl to attenuate afferent feedback from group III/IV muscle afferents, permitting increased muscle activation and greater intramuscular metabolic disturbance, this study aimed to better elucidate the role of metabolic perturbation on mitochondrial respiratory function. Eight young, healthy males performed high-intensity cycle exercise in control (CTRL) and fentanyl-treated (FENT) conditions. Liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry and high-resolution respirometry were used to assess metabolites and mitochondrial respiratory function, respectively, pre- and postexercise in muscle biopsies from the vastus lateralis. Compared with CTRL, FENT yielded a significantly greater exercise-induced metabolic perturbation (PCr: -67% vs. -82%, Pi: 353% vs. 534%, pH: -0.22 vs. -0.31, lactate: 820% vs. 1,160%). Somewhat surprisingly, despite this greater metabolic perturbation in FENT compared with CTRL, with the only exception of respiratory control ratio (RCR) (-3% and -36%) for which the impact of FENT was significantly greater, the degree of attenuated mitochondrial respiratory capacity postexercise was not different between CTRL and FENT, respectively, as assessed by maximal respiratory flux through complex I (-15% and -33%), complex II (-36% and -23%), complex I II (-31% and -20%), and state 3CI CII control ratio (-24% and -39%). Although a basement effect cannot be ruled out, this failure of an augmented metabolic perturbation to extensively further attenuate mitochondrial function questions the direct role of high-intensity exercise-induced metabolite accumulation in this postexercise response.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)R687-R698
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Regulatory Integrative and Comparative Physiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 2021


  • Mitochondrial function
  • Muscle afferents
  • Muscle metabolites
  • Oxidative phosphorylation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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