Human skeletal muscle ATP turnover and muscle fibre conduction velocity are elevated at higher muscle temperatures during the development of maximal power output

S.R. Gray, G. De Vito, M.A. Nimmo, R.A. Ferguson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The effect of temperature on skeletal muscle ATP turnover and muscle fiber conduction velocity (MFCV) was studied during maximal power output development in humans. Eight male subjects performed a 6-s maximal sprint on a mechanically braked cycle ergometer under conditions of normal (N) and elevated muscle temperature (ET). Muscle temperature was passively elevated through the combination of hot water immersion and electric blankets. Anaerobic ATP turnover was calculated from analysis of muscle biopsies obtained before and immediately after exercise. MFCV was measured during exercise using surface electromyography. Preexercise muscle temperature was 34.2°C (SD 0.6) in N and 37.5°C (SD 0.6) in ET. During ET, the rate of ATP turnover for phosphocreatine utilization [temperature coefficient (Q10) = 3.8], glycolysis (Q10 = 1.7), and total anaerobic ATP turnover [Q10 = 2.7; 10.8 (SD 1.9) vs. 14.6 mmol·kg–1 (dry mass)·s–1 (SD 2.3)] were greater than during N (P < 0.05). MFCV was also greater in ET than in N [3.79 (SD 0.47) to 5.55 m/s (SD 0.72)]. Maximal power output (Q10 = 2.2) and pedal rate (Q10 = 1.6) were greater in ET compared with N (P < 0.05). The Q10 of maximal and mean power were correlated (P < 0.05; R = 0.82 and 0.85, respectively) with the percentage of myosin heavy chain type IIA. The greater power output obtained with passive heating was achieved through an elevated rate of anaerobic ATP turnover and MFCV, possibly due to a greater effect of temperature on power production of fibers, with a predominance of myosin heavy chain IIA at the contraction frequencies reached.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)376-382
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2006


  • cycling exercise
  • energy production
  • surface electromyography
  • myosin heavy chain
  • temperature coefficient

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