Phosphorus magnetic resonance spectroscopy (P MRS) affords an innovative approach to the study of the oxidative enzyme content of normal and diseased muscles. Examples of the evaluation of the enzyme content of normal muscles by an exercise protocol are provided. The protocol affords a hyperbolic work/cost profile, the V(max) of which is calculated by the reciprocal plots giving the enzyme content and the 'effective Michaelis constant' with an evaluation of the resting metabolism. This steady state protocol clearly illustrates enzyme adaptation, on the one hand, and tissue atrophy particularly in the case of tissue injury, Duchenne's dystrophy, and genetic deletion of specific enzymes, on the other hand. The method is rapid, safe, and affords a quantitative evaluation of the disease process and possibilities for following appropriate therapies. So far, approx 1000 examinations of normal and diseased human limbs have been carried out in our laboratory in over the past four years.
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