Lactate and energy metabolism during exercise in patients with blocked glycogenolysis (McArdle disease)

Mette Cathrine Ørngreen, Tina Dysgaard Jeppesen, Tanja Taivassalo, Simon Hauerslev, Nicolai Preisler, Katja Heinicke, Ronald G. Haller, John Vissing, Gerrit Van Hall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Context: Patients with blocked muscle glycogen breakdown (McArdle disease) have severely reduced exercise capacity compared to healthy individuals and are not assumed to produce lactate during exercise. Objectives: The objectives were: 1) to quantify systemic and muscle lactate kinetics and oxidation rates and muscle energy utilization during exercise in patients with McArdle disease; and 2) to elucidate the role of lactate formation in muscle energy production. Design and Setting: This was a single trial in a hospital. Participants: Participants were four patients with McArdle disease and seven healthy subjects. Intervention: Patients and healthy controls were studied at rest, which was followed by 40 minutes of cycle-ergometer exercise at 60% of the patients' maximal oxygen uptake (∼35 W). Main Outcome Measures: Main outcome measures were systemic and leg skeletal muscle lactate, alanine, fatty acid, and glucose kinetics. Results: McArdle patients had a marked decrease in plasma lactate concentration at the onset of exercise, and the concentration remained suppressed during exercise. A substantial leg net lactate uptake and subsequent oxidation occurred over the entire exercise period in patients, in contrast to a net lactate release or no exchange in the healthy controls. Despite a net lactate uptake by the active leg, a simultaneous unidirectional lactate release was observed in McArdle patients at rates that were similar to the healthy controls. Conclusion: Lactate is an important energy source for contracting skeletal muscle in patients with myophosphorylase deficiency. Although McArdle patients had leg net lactate consumption, a simultaneous release of lactate was observed at rates similar to that found in healthy individuals exercising at the same very low workload, suggesting that lactate formation is mandatory for muscle energy generation during exercise.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E1096-E1104
JournalJournal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Biochemistry
  • Endocrinology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Biochemistry, medical


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