Muscle Oxygen Extraction during Vascular Occlusion Test in Physically Very Active versus Inactive Healthy Men: A Comparative Study


An increase in the delivery and use of oxygen to the musculature in physically active subjects are determinants of improving health-related aerobic capacity. Additional health benefits, such as an increase in the muscle mass and a decrease in fat mass, principally in the legs, could be achieved with weekly global physical activity levels of more than 300 min. The objective was to compare the muscle vascular and metabolic profiles of physically very active and inactive subjects. Twenty healthy men participated in the study; ten were assigned to the physically very active group (25.5 ± 4.2 years; 72.7 ± 8.1 kg; 173.7 ± 7.6 cm) and ten to the physically inactive group (30.0 ± 7.4 years; 74.9 ± 11.8 kg; 173.0 ± 6.4 cm). The level of physical activity was determined by the Global Physical Activity Questionnaire (GPAQ). A resting vascular occlusion test (5 min of an ischemic phase and 3 min of a reperfusion phase) was used, whereas a near-field infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) device was used to evaluate the muscle oxygenation in the right vastus lateralis of the quadriceps muscle. The area under the curve of the deoxyhemoglobin (HHb) during the ischemic phase and above the curve of the tissue saturation index (TSI) during the reperfusion phase were obtained to determine muscle metabolic and vascular responses, respectively. Physically very active group showed a higher absolute HHb (3331.9 ± 995.7 vs. 6182.7 ± 1632.5 mmol/s) and lower TSI (7615.0 ± 1111.9 vs. 5420.0 ± 781.4 %/s) and relative to body weight (46.3 ± 14.6 vs. 84.4 ± 27.1 mmol/s/kg and 106.0 ± 20.6 vs. 73.6 ± 13.8 %/s/kg, respectively), muscle mass (369.9 ± 122.2 vs. 707.5 ± 225.8 mmol/kg and 829.7 ± 163.4 vs. 611.9 ± 154.2 %/s/kg) and fat mass (1760.8 ± 522.9 vs. 2981.0 ± 1239.9 mmol/s/kg and 4160.0 ± 1257.3 vs. ±2638.4 ± 994.3 %/s/kg, respectively) than physically inactive subjects. A negative correlation was observed between HHb levels and TSI (r = −0.6; p textless 0.05). Physically very active men (textgreater300 min/week) present better muscle oxidative metabolism and perfusion and perform significantly more physical activity than physically inactive subjects. Extra benefits for vascular health and muscle oxidative metabolism are achieved when a subject becomes physically very active, as recommended by the World Health Organization. In addition, a higher level of physical activity determined by GPAQ is related to better vascular function and oxidative metabolism of the main locomotor musculature, i.e., the quadriceps.

Journal of Functional Morphology and Kinesiology