Variation in mitochondrial respiratory capacity and myosin heavy chain composition in repeated muscle biopsies

Ronni Eg Sahl*, Thomas Morville, Regitze Kraunsøe, Flemming Dela, Jørn Wulff Helge, Steen Larsen

*Corresponding author for this work
    15 Citations (Scopus)


    Skeletal muscle is a heterogeneous tissue and it is essential to know the methodological variation and reliability when measuring aspects of muscle function. We assessed the methodological and biological variation when measuring mitochondrial respiratory capacity (MRC), citrate synthase (CS) activity and myosin heavy chain (MHC) composition in muscle biopsies from nine healthy male participants, and in addition we assessed variation in MRC in isolated mitochondria and yeast suspension. We analysed MRC, CS activity and MHC composition in duplicates (intra-biopsy variation) to quantify the methodological variation, as well as the biological variation from multiple muscle biopsies (inter-biopsy variation) obtained at different sites of the same muscle. Three muscle biopsies (B1, B2 and B3) were obtained from each subject in m. vastus lateralis. Two of the biopsies were from the same leg and one from the other leg. For MRC, intra-biopsy coefficient of variation (CV) was 8.4% and inter-biopsy CV was 13.3%. For MHC type I, IIa and IIx intra-biopsy CV was 8.3, 6.0 and 22.3%, respectively. Inter-biopsy CV for these MHC types were 21.5, 15.4 and 42.0%, respectively. For CS activity intra-biopsy CV was 0.6% and inter-biopsy CV was 15.3%. No differences between B1, B2 and B3 were detected for MRC, CS activity or MHC composition.

    Original languageEnglish
    JournalAnalytical Biochemistry
    Pages (from-to)119-124
    Number of pages6
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2018


    • Coefficient of variance
    • Human skeletal muscle
    • Mitochondrial respiratory capacity
    • Myosin heavy chain
    • SDS-PAGE


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