Pharyngeal muscles play important roles in the maintenance of upper airway patency during sleep. The present study determined the extent of heterogeneity among pharyngeal muscles and the diaphragm in their metabolic profiles, and examined whether differences among muscles may account for previously described differences in their fatigue resistance. Cat and rat sternohyoid, geniohyoid, genioglossus (cat only) and diaphragm muscle were assayed for activities of the mitochondrial enzyme citrate synthase (CS), the glycolytic enzyme phosphofructokinase (PFK) and the cytosolic enzyme lactate dehydrogenase (LDH). CS activity varied among muscles in both species, being highest for genioglossus in cat and highest far diaphragm in rat PFK activity was highest for genioglossus in cat, but did not differ among muscles in rat. LDH activity was lower for the genioglossus than the sternohyoid and diaphragm in cat. CS and PFK activities correlated positively, and LDH activity correlated negatively, with in vitro fatigue resistance assessed after 5 min of repetitive stimulation In cat. These data indicate close relationships between metabolic profiles, particularly oxidative capacity, and fatigue resistance of pharyngeal muscles in relationship to each other and to the diaphragm.
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