ABSTRACT: Improving reduced skeletal muscle function is important for optimising exercise tolerance and quality of life in COPD patients. By applying high intensity training to a small muscle group, we hypothesised a normalization of muscle function.Seven patients with COPD performed six weeks (3 d·week(-1)) of high intensity interval aerobic knee extensor exercise training. Five age-matched healthy individuals served as reference group. Muscle oxygen uptake (VO2-peak) and mitochondrial respiration of the m.vastus lateralis were measured before and after the 6 week training program.Initial peak work and maximal mitochondrial respiration were reduced in COPD patients and improved significantly after the training program. Peak power and maximal mitochondrial respiration in m.vastus lateralis increased to control subjects' level and were mainly mediated via improved complex I respiration. Furthermore, when normalized to citrate synthase activity, no difference in maximal respiration was found neither after the intervention nor compared to controls, suggesting normal functioning mitochondrial complexes.The present study shows that high intensity training of a restricted muscle group is highly effective in restoring skeletal muscle function in COPD patients.
European Respiratory Journal 03/2012; · 5.89 Impact Factor