At onset of muscle contraction, myoglobin (Mb) immediately releases its bound O2 to the mitochondria. Accordingly, intracellular O2 tension (PmbO2) markedly declines in order to increase muscle O2 uptake (mVO2). However, whether the change in PmbO2 during muscle contraction modulates mVO2 and whether the O2 release rate from Mb increases in endurance-trained muscles remain unclear. The purpose of this study was, therefore, to determine the effect of endurance training on O2 saturation of Mb (SmbO2) and PmbO2 kinetics during muscle contraction. Male Wistar rats were subjected to a 4-week swimming training (Tr group; 6 days per week, 30 min x 4 sets per day) with a weight load of 2% body mass. After the training period, deoxygenated Mb kinetics during muscle contraction were measured using near-infrared spectroscopy under hemoglobin-free medium perfusion. In the Tr group, the mVO2peak significantly increased by 32%. Although the PmbO2 during muscle contraction did not affect the increased mVO2 in endurance-trained muscle, the O2 release rate from Mb increased because of the increased Mb concentration and faster decremental rate in SmbO2 at the maximal twitch tension. These results suggest that the Mb dynamics during muscle contraction are contributing factors to faster VO2 kinetics in endurance-trained muscle.
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