Relating Intramuscular Fuel Use to Endurance in Juvenile Rainbow Trout

Physiol Biochem Zool. May-Jun 2002;75(3):250-9. doi: 10.1086/341815.


This study examined fuel depletion in white muscle of juvenile rainbow trout sprinted to fatigue to determine whether the onset of fatigue is associated with a measurable metabolic change within the muscle and whether muscle glycogen levels influence endurance. In this study, "fuels" refer to any energy-supplying compounds and include glycogen, phosphocreatine (PCr), and ATP. Fuel depletion in white muscle was estimated by the calculation of the anaerobic energy expenditure (AEE; in micromol ATP equivalents g(-1)) from the reduction of PCr and ATP and the accumulation of lactate. Progression of fuel use during sprinting was examined by sampling fish before they showed signs of fatigue and following fatigue. Most of the AEE before fatigue was due to PCr depletion. However, at the first signs of fatigue, there was a 32% drop in ATP. Similarly, when fish were slowly accelerated to a fatiguing velocity, the only significant change at fatigue was a 30% drop in ATP levels. Muscle glycogen levels were manipulated by altering ration (1% vs. 4% body weight ration per day) combined with either daily or no exercise. Higher ration alone led to significantly greater muscle glycogen but had no effect on sprint performance, whereas sprint training led to higher glycogen and an average threefold improvement in sprint performance. In contrast, periodic chasing produced a similar increase in glycogen but had no effect on sprint performance. Taken together, these observations suggest that (i) a reduction in ATP in white muscle could act as a proximate signal for fatigue during prolonged exercise in fish and (ii) availability of muscle glycogen does not limit endurance.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenosine Triphosphate / metabolism
  • Anaerobiosis
  • Animal Nutritional Physiological Phenomena
  • Animals
  • Diet
  • Energy Metabolism*
  • Fatigue / metabolism
  • Glycogen / metabolism
  • Muscle, Skeletal / metabolism
  • Oncorhynchus mykiss / metabolism*
  • Physical Conditioning, Animal*
  • Swimming / physiology
  • Time Factors


  • Adenosine Triphosphate
  • Glycogen