Analysis of electrical stimulation and voluntary muscle contraction on skeletal muscle oxygen uptake and mitochondrial recovery using near-infrared spectroscopy


Purpose: This investigation was to compare differences in skeletal muscle oxygen consumption ([Formula: see text]) and mitochondrial recovery between voluntary (VOL) and electrically stimulated (ES) plantarflexion contractions. Methods: Twelve men and women (26 ± 4.0 years; 171.8 ± 5.1 cm; 74.0 ± 13.7 kg) were seated in a chair with their right knee fully extended and right foot secured to a force transducer. ES electrodes and a near-infrared spectroscopy device were placed on the gastrocnemius. Participants performed ES plantarflexion contractions across a range of stimulation intensities at frequencies of 1 and 2 Hz and similar VOL contractions. Cuff occlusion occurred immediately following each series of contractions to measure [Formula: see text]. A standardized mitochondrial function assessment protocol was also performed to calculate K-constants between work-matched ES and VOL contractions. Results: For mitochondrial assessments, there were no significant differences between ES and VOL rate constants (2.03 ± 0.98 vs. 1.25 ± 1.35 min-1, p = 0.266). ES resulted in a significantly greater workrate-[Formula: see text] slope at 1 Hz (0.007 ± 0.007 vs. 0.001 ± 0.002% [Formula: see text]/s/N, p = 0.014) and 2 Hz (0.010 ± 0.010 vs. 0.001 ± 0.001% [Formula: see text]/s/N, p = 0.012), as well as a significantly greater workrate-[Formula: see text] Y-intercept at 2 Hz (1.603 ± 1.513 vs. 0.556 ± 0.564% [Formula: see text]/s, p = 0.035) but not 1 Hz (0.579 ± 0.448 vs. 0.442 ± 0.357% mV̇O2/s, p = 0.535) when compared to VOL. Conclusion: ES results in a significantly greater [Formula: see text] at similar work rates compared to VOL, however, the mitochondrial recovery rate constants were similar. The greater mVO2 with ES may partially contribute to the increased rate of fatigue during ES exercise in individuals with muscle paralysis.

European Journal of Applied Physiology