European Journal of Applied Physiology

, Volume 95, Issue 1, pp 74–82 | Cite as

70 μM caffeine treatment enhances in vitro force and power output during cyclic activities in mouse extensor digitorum longus muscle

  • Rob S. JamesEmail author
  • Tiana Kohlsdorf
  • Val M. Cox
  • Carlos A. Navas
Original Article


Caffeine ingestion by human athletes has been found to improve endurance performance primarily acting via the central nervous system as an adenosine receptor antagonist. However, a few studies have implied that the resultant micromolar levels of caffeine in blood plasma (70 μM maximum for humans) may directly affect skeletal muscle causing enhanced force production. In the present study, the effects of 70 μM caffeine on force and power output in isolated mouse extensor digitorum longus muscle were investigated in vitro at 35°C. Muscle preparations were subjected to cyclical sinusoidal length changes with electrical stimulation conditions optimised to produce maximal work. 70 μM caffeine caused a small but significant increase (2–3%) in peak force and net work produced during work loops (where net work represents the work input required to lengthen the muscle subtracted from the work produced during shortening). However, these micromolar caffeine levels did not affect the overall pattern of fatigue or the pattern of recovery from fatigue. Our results suggest that the plasma concentrations found when caffeine is used to enhance athletic performance in human athletes might directly enhance force and power during brief but not prolonged activities. These findings potentially confirm previous in vivo studies, using humans, which implied caffeine ingestion may cause acute improvements in muscle force and power output but would not enhance endurance.


Endurance Fatigue Strength Work 



Tiana Kohlsdorf was a visiting postgraduate student supported by a FAPESP Doctoral Fellowship (00/06662-5) and travelling fellowships to the UK from Pró-reitoria de Pesquisa e Pós-graduação and Commissão de Cooperação Internacional (CCInt), both from University of São Paulo, Brazil. We thank: Drs. Mike Price, Graham Askew, Ray Carson, Anna Pike and participants in the Coventry University Physiology and Sport Science seminar series for helpful discussions; Mark Bodycote and Adrian Wallen for technical assistance. TK present address: Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Yale University. 165 Prospect St., New Haven, 06511 CT. USA.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rob S. James
    • 1
    Email author
  • Tiana Kohlsdorf
    • 2
  • Val M. Cox
    • 1
  • Carlos A. Navas
    • 2
  1. 1.School of Science and the Environment, James Starley BuildingCoventry UniversityCoventry CV1 5FBUK
  2. 2.Departamento de Fisiologia, Instituto de BiociênciasUniversidade de São PauloSão Paulo, SPBrazil

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