1. The metabolic integrity of a new isolated rat hindquarter preparation was studied. The hindquarter was perfused with a semi-synthetic medium containing aged human erythrocytes. More than 95% of the oxidative metabolism of the preparation was due to muscle, the remainder being due to bone, adipose tissue and, where present, skin. 2. Consumption of O2, glucose utilization, glycerol release and lactate production were similar in the presence and in the absence of the skin, indicating that the latter contributed little to the overall metabolism of the preparation. 3. After 40min of perfusion, tissue concentrations of creatine phosphate, ATP and ADP were similar to those found in muscle taken directly from intact animals. The muscle also appeared normal under the electron microscope. 4. The hindquarter did not lose K% to the medium during a 30min perfusion. In the presence of insulin it had a net K% uptake. 5. Insulin caused a sixfold increase in glucose uptake, stimulated O2 consumption by nearly 40% and depressed glycerol release to less than half the control value. 6. Bilateral sciatic-nerve stimulation caused severalfold increases in O2 consumption and lactate production. In the absence of insulin nerve stimulation also enhanced glucose uptake; in the presence of insulin it did not further increase the already high rate of glucose uptake. 7. Rates of lactate production and O2 consumption of the rat hindquarter in vivo and the isolated perfused hindquarter were very similar. 8. Ketone bodies were a major oxidative fuel in vivo of the hindquarter of a rat starved for 2 days. If the acetoacetate and 3-hydroxybutyrate removed by the tissue were completely oxidized, they would have accounted for 77% of the O2 consumption. 9. Acetoacetate accounted for 84% of the ketone bodies removed by the hindquarter in vivo even though its arterial concentration was half that of 3-hydroxybutyrate. 10. Similar rates of acetoacetate and 3-hydroxybutyrate utilization were observed in the perfused hindquarter. 11. Acetoacetate utilization by the perfused hindquarter was not diminished by the addition of either oleate or insulin to the perfusate. 12. Oxidation of glucose to CO2 accounted for less than 4% of the O2 consumed by the perfused hindquarter in both the presence and the absence of insulin. 13. The results indicate that the isolated perfused hindquarter is a useful tool for studying muscle metabolism. They also suggest that ketone bodies, if present in sufficient concentration, are the preferred oxidative fuel of resting muscle.

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