Purpose: To assess the transverse relaxation time T(2) and diffusion coefficient D before and following exercise in the tibialis anterior muscle and determine whether T(2) and D values were correlated.
Methods: Measurements of T(2) and D were performed at 3 T within axial slices through the calf muscles of six healthy volunteers at 95 s intervals before and for 10-12 min after a dorsiflexion exercise to exhaustion.
Results: The mean +/- standard deviation (SD) of T(2) and D before exercise were 32 +/- 1.55 ms and 1.52 +/- 0.15 mum(2)/ms, and after exercise were 43 +/- 2.5 ms and 1.72 +/- 0.13 mum(2)/ms, respectively. The mean +/- SD inter-individual recovery times of the % change in T(2) and D after exercise were 7.9 +/- 4.2 and 10.9 +/- 7.0 min, respectively. The T(2) and D values showed a significant correlation throughout the experiments (r (2) = 0.45).
Conclusions: The increase in T(2) of skeletal muscle after exercise is correlated with the increase of the diffusion coefficient D and the recovery times appear similar, indicating that any model used to explain T(2) increases with exercise must also account for increased diffusion coefficients.