The purpose of this study was to quantify muscle deoxygenation in human skeletal muscles using near infrared time-resolved spectroscopy (NIRTRS) and compare NIRTRS indicators and blood saturation. The forearm muscles of five healthy males (aged 27-32 yrs.) were monitored for changes in hemoglobin saturation (SO2) during 12 min of arterial occlusion and recovery. SO2 was determined by measuring the temporal profile of photon diffusion at 780 and 830 nm using NIRTRS, and was defined as SO2-TRS. Venous blood samples were also obtained for measurements of SvO2, and PvO2. Interstitial PO2(PintO2) was monitored by placing an O2 electrode directly into the muscle tissue. Upon the initiation of occlusion, all parameters fell progressively until reaching a plateau in the latter half of occlusion. It was observed at the end of occlusion that SO2-TRS (24.1 +/- 5.6%) agreed with SvO2 (26.2 +/- 6.4) and that PintO2 (14.7 +/- 1.0 Torr) agreed with PvO2 (17.3 +/- 2.2 Torr). The resting O2 store (oxygenated hemoglobin) and O2 consumption rate were 290 microM and 0.82 microM s-1, respectively, values which reasonably agree with the reported results. These results indicate that there was no O2 gradient between vessels and interstisium at the end of occlusion.