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  • 1
    This study examined changes in tricarboxylic acid cycle intermediates (TCAIs) in human skeletal muscle during 5min of dynamic knee extensor exercise (∼80% of maximum workload) and following 2 min of recovery.
  • 2
    The sum of the seven measured TCAIs (ΣTCAIs) increased from 1.10 ± 0.08mmol (kg dry weight)−1 at rest to 3.12 ± 0.24, 3.86 ± 0.35 and 4.33 ± 0.30 mmol (kg dry weight)−1after 1, 3 and 5 min of exercise, respectively (P≤ 0.05). The ΣTCAIs after 2 min of recovery (3.74 ± 0.43 mmol (kg dry weight)−1) was not different compared with 5 min of exercise.
  • 3
    The rapid increase in ΣTCAIs during exercise was primarily mediated by large changes in succinate, malate and fumarate. These three intermediates accounted for > 90 % of the net increase in ΣTCAIs during the first minute of contraction.
  • 4
    Intramuscular alanine increased after 1 min of exercise by an amount similar to the increase in the ΣTCAIs (2.33 mmol (kg dry weight)−1) (P≤ 0.05). Intramuscular pyruvate was also higher (P≤0.05) during exercise, while intramuscular glutamate decreased by ∼50% within 1 min and remained low despite an uptake from the circulation (P≤ 0.05).
  • 5
    The calculated net release plus estimated muscle accumulation of ammonia after 1 min of exercise (∼60 μmol (kg wet weight)−1) indicated that only a minor portion of the increase in ΣTCAIs could have been mediated through the purine nucleotide cycle and/or glutamate dehydrogenase reaction.
  • 6
    It is concluded that the close temporal relationship between the increase in ΣTCAIs and changes in glutamate, alanine and pyruvate metabolism suggests that the alanine amino-transferase reaction is the most important anaplerotic process during the initial minutes of contraction in human skeletal muscle.