Skeletal muscle perfusion measured by positron emission tomography during exercise

Pflugers Arch. 1998 Oct;436(5):653-8. doi: 10.1007/s004240050685.


The applicability of H215O-positron emission tomographic (PET) imaging for the assessment of skeletal muscle perfusion during exercise was investigated in five healthy subjects performing intermittent isometric contractions on a calf ergometer. The workload of the left calf muscles was kept constant in all exercises, while that of the right calf muscles was varied. During exercise H215O distribution in the calf muscles was measured by PET. Radioactivity measured in the left calf muscles was used as a reference for the radioactivity measured in the right calf muscles. In all studies, muscles were delineated by uptake of radioactivity. Four subjects demonstrated high radioactivity in the gastrocnemius medialis muscle, in one subject high radioactivity was distributed over the triceps surae muscles. The observed muscles demonstrated also local foci of radioactivity indicating regionally enhanced tissue perfusion. The right-left ratio of radioactivity in the active muscles increased as a function of the load. We conclude that inter- and intramuscle perfusion differences can be measured during exercise by H215O-PET imaging.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anatomy, Cross-Sectional
  • Capillary Permeability / physiology
  • Exercise Test / methods
  • Functional Laterality
  • Humans
  • Injections, Intravenous
  • Leg / physiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscle Contraction / physiology
  • Muscle, Skeletal / blood supply*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology*
  • Oxygen Radioisotopes / analysis
  • Regional Blood Flow / physiology
  • Time Factors
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed*
  • Water / administration & dosage
  • Water / chemistry
  • Water / metabolism


  • Oxygen Radioisotopes
  • Water