In European woodmice the amount and intensity of daily activity was compared to oxygen uptake and to the potential for oxidative metabolism of heart and skeletal muscle. One group of animals was inactivated by exposition to light during night time; another group of animals was trained by enforced running on a treadmill. The oxidative potential of the muscle tissue was assessed by morphometry of capillaries and mitochondria. A novel sampling technique was used which allowed us to obtain morphological data related to single muscles, to muscle groups, and finally to whole body muscle mass. Reducing the spontaneous activity by ten fold had no effect on oxygen uptake nor on capillaries or mitochondria in locomotory muscles. Mitochondrial volume was reduced, however, in heart and diaphragm. Enforced running increased the weight specific maximal oxygen uptake significantly. It also increased the mitochondrial volume in heart and diaphragm as well as in M. tibialis anterior. Capillary densities were neither affected by training nor by inactivation. A significant correlation was found between the capillary density and the volume density of mitochondria in all muscles analysed morphometrically. For the whole skeletal muscle mass of a European woodmouse the inner mitochondrial membranes were estimated to cover 30 m2. The oxygen consumption per unit time and per unit volume of muscle mitochondrion was found to be identical in all groups of animals (4.9 ml O2 min-1 cm-3).
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Animal Science and Zoology