, Volume 237, Issue 4, pp 234-238

Myoglobin is a sensitive marker of increased muscle membrane vulnerability

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Changes in muscle proteins in serum after exercise were studied to evaluate the use of such proteins as indicators of increased muscle membrane vulnerability. Seventy-one women were asked to perform bicycle exercise for 45 min at a moderate load; four proteins (creatine kinase — CK, myoglobin — Mb, aldolase — Ald and pyruvate kinase — PK) were measured in serum up to 24 h after exercise. Twenty-one women were carriers of Duchenne's muscular dystrophy (DMD); these are known to show an elevated serum CK activity at rest, as well as an increased CK response after exercise. Fifty women without a family history of neuromuscular disease were tested to obtain normal values: they showed a small peak (18%) of CK activity 8h after exercise, and an even smaller peak of Mb (9%) 1h after exercise. The mean post-exercise increase for both CK and Mb in the 21 DMD carriers was significantly higher than in controls; the maximum of Mb, on average 70% of baseline levels, was reached 1h after exercise and was higher than that for CK (48%), which was reached 8 h after exercise. It is concluded that myoglobin levels after exercise are a good index of increased vulnerability of the muscle membrane.