Relationships between fiber composition and NMR measurements in human skeletal muscle

NMR Biomed. 1996 Feb;9(1):8-12. doi: 10.1002/(SICI)1099-1492(199602)9:1<8::AID-NBM387>3.0.CO;2-F.


The purpose of this study was to examine the relationships between the relative contents of phosphocreatine (PCr), inorganic phosphate (Pi), beta-adenosine triphosphate (ATP), and transverse relaxation time (T2) with fiber composition, which determined histochemically in the human skeletal muscle. The vastus lateralis muscles of 28 volunteers were subjected to phosphorus nuclear magnetic resonance (31P NMR) spectroscopy, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and muscle biopsy. Muscle fibers were divided into type I and type II fibers using myosin ATPase stain. A wide range of fiber composition levels were observed in the subjects (27.3-74.6% type I fibers). The PCr/ATP, Pi/ATP and (PCr + Pi)/ATP ratios were positively related to the percentage of type II fibers (r = 0.695, p < 0.001, r = 0.429, p < 0.05 and r = 0.773, p < 0.001, respectively). There was no correlation between fiber composition and the PCr/Pi ratio (r 0.127, n.s.) or intracellular pH (r = 0.305, n.s.). Moreover, no correlation was found between T2 and fiber type (r = 0.144, n.s.). These results suggest that 31P NMR can detect the differences in relative content of phosphates between type I and type II fibers, thereby noninvasively evaluating fiber composition in human skeletal muscle.

MeSH terms

  • Adenosine Triphosphate / analysis
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Biopsy, Needle
  • Female
  • Histocytochemistry
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy*
  • Male
  • Muscle Fibers, Skeletal / chemistry*
  • Muscle Fibers, Skeletal / classification
  • Muscle Relaxation
  • Muscle, Skeletal / chemistry*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology
  • Phosphates / analysis
  • Phosphocreatine / analysis


  • Phosphates
  • Phosphocreatine
  • Adenosine Triphosphate