Bilateral NIRS measurements of muscle mitochondrial capacity: Feasibility and repeatability

Rewais Hanna, Jigar Gosalia, Alaina Demalis, Zachary Hobson, Kevin K. McCully, Brian A. Irving, Swapan Mookerjee, Giampietro L. Vairo, David N. Proctor

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5 Scopus citations


Background: Non-invasive determination of mitochondrial capacity via near infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) typically involves voluntary exercise of a single muscle group followed by as many as 26 brief ischemic cuff occlusions to determine a single recovery rate constant (k). Purpose: To determine the within- and between-visit repeatability of a shortened bilateral NIRS protocol, and to establish the feasibility of hamstring k measurements. Methods: Sixteen young (eight women, eight men; 22 ± 3 years) active adults underwent a bilateral electrical stimulation protocol in which multiple (n = 4) measurements of k for the vastus lateralis (VL) and medial hamstring (MH) muscles were determined on two visits. Repeatability (CV% and intraclass correlations, ICC) and equivalency across visits were assessed for both muscles. Results: Mean k values in the VL were consistent with published values and within-visit ICCs were moderately high for both muscles in both sexes. In men, average k values on visit 2 were within 1% (VL muscle) and 5% (MH muscle) of the values on visit 1 (all p > 0.78). In women, average k values were 10%–15% lower on visit 2 (p = 0.01 and p = 0.15 for MH and VL) with the largest between-visit differences in a subset of participants with the most days between visits. Conclusions: This bilateral NIRS protocol is time efficient and provides valid estimates of k in both sexes and muscle groups with acceptable within-visit repeatability. Lower than expected between-visit repeatability in some participants reinforces the need for further investigation of this newly developed protocol to identify and control for experimental and behavioral sources of variation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere14826
JournalPhysiological reports
Issue number8
StatePublished - Apr 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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