Introduction: Work on human and mouse skeletal muscle by our group and others has demonstrated that aging and age-related degenerative diseases are associated with mitochondrial dysfunction, which may be more prevalent in males. There have been, however, no studies that specifically examine the influence of male or female sex on human skeletal muscle mitochondrial respiration. The purpose of this study was to compare mitochondrial respiration in the gastrocnemius of adult men and women. Methods: Gastrocnemius muscle was obtained from male (n = 19) and female (n = 11) human subjects with healthy lower-extremity musculoskeletal and arterial systems and normal ambulatory function. All patients were undergoing operations for the treatment of varicose veins in their legs. Mitochondrial respiration was determined with a Clark electrode in an oxygraph cell containing saponin-skinned muscle bundles. Complex I-, II-, III-, and IV-dependent respiration was measured individually and normalized to muscle weight, total protein content, and citrate synthase (CS, index of mitochondrial content). Results: Male and female patients had no evidence of musculoskeletal or arterial disease and did not differ with regard to age, race, body mass index, or other clinical characteristics. Complex I-, II-, III-, and IV-dependent respiration normalized to muscle weight, total protein content, and CS did not statistically differ for males compared with females. Conclusions: Our study evaluates, for the first time, gastrocnemius mitochondrial respiration of adult men and women who have healthy musculoskeletal and arterial systems and normal ambulatory function. Our data demonstrate there are no differences in the respiration of gastrocnemius mitochondria between men and women.
- Skeletal muscle
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