Measuring tibial hemodynamics and metabolism at rest and after exercise using near-infrared spectroscopy


The bone vascular system is important; yet, evaluation of bone hemodynamics is difficult and expensive. This study evaluated the utility and reliability of near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS), a portable and relatively inexpensive device, in measuring tibial hemodynamics and metabolic rate. Eleven participants were tested twice using post-occlusive reactive hyperemia technique with the NIRS probes placed on the tibia and the medial gastrocnemius (MG) muscle. Measurements were made at rest and after two levels of plantarflexion exercise. The difference between oxygenated and deoxygenated hemoglobin signal (HbDiff) could be reliably measured with small coefficients of variation (CV; range 5.7 – 9.8%) and high intraclass correlation coefficients (ICC; range 0.73 – 0.91). Deoxygenated hemoglobin rate of change, a potential marker for bone metabolism, also showed good reliability (CV range 7.5 – 9.8%, ICC range 0.90 – 0.93). The tibia was characterized with a much slower metabolic rate compared to MG (p < 0.001). While exercise significantly increased MG metabolic rate in a dose-dependent manner (all p < 0.05), no changes were observed for the tibia after exercise compared to rest (all p > 0.05). NIRS is a suitable tool for monitoring hemodynamics and metabolism in the tibia. However, the local muscle exercise protocol utilized in the current study did not influence bone hemodynamics or metabolic rate. Novelty bullets • NIRS can be used to monitor tibial hemodynamics and metabolism with good reliability. • Short-duration local muscle exercise increased metabolic rate in muscle but not in bone. • High level of loading and exercise volume may be needed to elicit measurable metabolic changes in bone.

Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism