Skeletal muscle has the capacity to increase energy turnover by w1000 times its resting rate when contracting at the maximum force/power output. Since ATP is not stored in any appreciable quantity, the muscle requires a coordinated metabolic response to maintain an adequate supply of ATP to sustain contractile activity. The integration of intracellular metabolic pathways is dependent upon the cross-bridge cycling rate of myosin and actin, substrate availability and the accumulation of metabolic byproducts, all of which can influence the maintenance of contractile activity or result in the onset of fatigue. In addition, the mobilisation of extracellular substrates is dependent upon the integration of both the autonomic nervous system and endocrine systems to coordinate an increase in both carbohydrate and fat availability. The current review examines the evidence for skeletal muscle to generate power over short and long durations and discusses the metabolic response to sustain these processes. The review also considers the endocrine response from the perspective of the sympathoadrenal system to integrate extracellular substrate availability with the increased energy demands made by contracting skeletal muscle. Finally, the review briefly discusses the evidence that muscle acts in an endocrine manner during exercise and what role this might play in mobilising extracellular substrates to augment the effects of the sympathoadrenal system.
- Muscle energetics