Substrate and Enzyme Profile of Fast and Slow Skeletal Muscle Fibers in Rhesus Monkeys

Document Type




Format of Original

6 p.

Publication Date



American Physiological Society

Source Publication

Journal of Applied Physiology

Source ISSN



Results from the Russian Cosmos program suggest that the rhesus monkey is an excellent model for studying weightlessness-induced changes in muscle function. Consequently, the purpose of this investigation was to establish the resting levels of selected substrate and enzymes in individual slow- and fast-twitch muscle fibers of the rhesus monkey. A second objective was to determine the effect of an 18-day sit in the Spacelab experiment-support primate facility [Experimental System for the Orbiting Primate (ESOP)]. Muscle biopsies of the soleus and medial gastrocnemius muscles were obtained 1 mo before and immediately after an 18-day ESOP sit. The biopsies were freeze-dried, and individual fibers were isolated and assayed for the substrates glycogen and lactate and for the high-energy phosphates ATP and phosphocreatine. Fiber enzyme activity was also determined for the glycolytic enzymes phosphofructokinase and lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) and for the oxidative markers 3-hydroxyacyl-CoA dehydrogenase (β-OAC) and citrate synthase. Consistent with other species, the fast type II fibers contained higher glycogen content than did the slow type I fibers. The ESOP sit had no significant effects on the metabolic profile of the slow fibers of either muscle or the fast fibers of the soleus. However, the fast gastrocnemius fibers showed a significant decline in phosphocreatine and an increase in lactate. Also, similar to other species, the fast fibers contained significantly higher LDH activities and lower 3-hydroxyacyl-CoA dehydrogenase activities. For the muscle enzymes, the quantitatively most important effect of the ESOP sit occurred with LDH where activities increased in all fiber types postsit except the slow type I fiber of the medial gastrocnemius.


Journal of Applied Physiology, Vol. 86, No. 1 (January 1999): 335-340. Permalink.