Loss of muscle oxidative rapacity after an extreme endurance run: The Paris-Dakar foot-race

D. Hochli, T. Schneiter, G. Ferretti, H. Howald, H. Claassen, C. Moia, G. Atchou, M. Belleri, A. Veicsteinas, H. Hoppeler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We measured changes in maximal oxygen uptake capacity (V̇O2max), ventilation, heart rate, plasma lactate and speed at the end of an incremental exercise test as a consequence of a relay foot race from Paris to Daltar in 6 subjects. Additionally, anthropometric measurements were taken and muscle biopsies from M. vastus lateralis were obtained before and after the race. The latter were analyzed with morphometric methods for fiber size, capillarity and muscle ultrastructural composition. Weight specific V̇O2max was significantly reduced from 62.4 to 60.5 ml/min . kg after the race while absolute V̇O2max and the other endurance related functional variables remained unchanged. Body fat, thigh cross-sectional area and thigh volume showed tendential reduction immediately after the race but regained pre-race values within a few days. Fiber size and capillarity were not affected by the race. Volume density of total mitochondria was significantly reduced from 6.98 to 4.89% of fiber volume. Both subsarcolemmal and interfibrillar mitochondria were significantly reduced by 59 and 21%, respectively. The volume density of satellite cell was increased about three-fold whereas the content of lipofuscin remained constant. It is concluded that extreme endurance events such as a multi-stage relay race may induce a considerable loss of oxidative capacity of skeletal muscle tissue.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)343-346
Number of pages4
JournalInternational Journal of Sports Medicine
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1995


  • Maximum O consumption
  • Mitochondria
  • Running
  • Training

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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