31P Magnetic resonance spectroscopy studies were carried out in vivo on skeletal muscle of a patient with verapamil-responsive, chronic, progressive post-exertional muscle pain. A sister suffered from a similar complaint. The results showed that the muscle: (1) decreased its high energy phosphate content more rapidly than normal during exercise, indicating either increased utilisation or decreased production of ATP; (2) acidified more rapidly than normal during exercise suggesting an increased glycolytic rate; (3) continued in some studies to acidify markedly during the first minute after exercise, indicating that glycolysis remained active into the recovery period; (4) had phosphocreatine and ADP recovery rates consistent with normal rates of oxidative phosphorylation. On the basis of these results, it was proposed that the patient suffers from a defect in Ca2+ handling in the muscle. Subsequently, direct measurement of Ca2+-ATPase activity in the sarcoplasmic reticulum fraction from a muscle biopsy sample showed that the activity of this enzyme was reduced by about 90%.
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