Preexercise muscle glycogen content affects metabolism during exercise despite maintenance of hyperglycemia

Am J Physiol. 1998 Jan;274(1):E83-8. doi: 10.1152/ajpendo.1998.274.1.E83.


Trained cyclists with low muscle glycogen (LGH; n = 8) or normal glycogen (NGH; n = 5) exercised for 145 min at 70% of maximal oxygen uptake during a hyperglycemic clamp. Respiratory exchange ratio was higher in NGH than LGH, and free fatty acid concentrations were lower in NGH than LGH. Areas under the curve for insulin and lactate were lower in LGH than NGH. Total glucose infusion and total glucose oxidation were not different between NGH and LGH, and total glucose oxidation amounted to 65 and 66% of total glucose infusion in NGH and LGH, respectively. Rates of glucose oxidation rose during exercise, reaching peaks of 9.2 +/- 1.7 and 8.3 +/- 1.1 mmol/min in NGH and LGH, respectively. Muscle glycogen disappearance was greater in NGH than LGH. Thus 1) low muscle glycogen content does not cause increased glucose oxidation, even during hyperglycemia; instead there is an increase in fat oxidation, 2) there is an upper limit to the rate of glucose oxidation during exercise with hyperglycemia irrespective of muscle glycogen status, and 3) net muscle glycogen utilization is determined by muscle glycogen content at the start of exercise, even during hyperglycemia.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Bicycling
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Fatty Acids, Nonesterified / blood
  • Glucagon / blood
  • Glucose Clamp Technique
  • Glycogen / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Hyperglycemia / physiopathology*
  • Kinetics
  • Lactates / blood
  • Male
  • Muscle Fatigue
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology*
  • Oxygen Consumption*
  • Physical Endurance / physiology*
  • Physical Exertion / physiology*


  • Blood Glucose
  • Fatty Acids, Nonesterified
  • Lactates
  • Glycogen
  • Glucagon