The influence of differences in glycogen concentration on glycogen breakdown and on phosphorylase activity was investigated in perfused contracting rat skeletal muscle. The rats were preconditioned by a combination of swimming exercise and diet (carbohydrate-free or carbohydrate-rich) in order to obtain four sub-groups of rats with varying resting muscle glycogen concentrations (range 10-60 mumol/g wet wt.). Pre-contraction muscle glycogen concentration was closely positively correlated with glycogen breakdown over 15 min of intermittent short tetanic contractions (r = 0.75; P less than 0.001; n = 56) at the same tension development and oxygen uptake. Additional studies in supercompensated and glycogen-depleted hindquarters during electrical stimulation for 20 s or 2 min revealed that the difference in glycogenolytic rate was found at the beginning rather than at the end of the contraction period. Phosphorylase alpha activity was approximately twice as high (P less than 0.001) in supercompensated muscles as in glycogen-depleted muscles after 20 s as well as after 2 min of contractions. It is concluded that glycogen concentration is an important determinant of phosphorylase activity in contracting skeletal muscle, and probably via this mechanism a regulator of glycogenolytic rate during muscle contraction.

This content is only available as a PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.