This paper quantifies maximal fluxes through the pathway supplying carbohydrates to the mitochondria of muscle cells. Continuous infusions of D-[3-(3)H]glucose together with indirect calorimetry were used to investigate the partitioning of the supply of carbohydrates through the two branches of the pathway: from circulating glucose and from glycogen stores within the muscle cells to the mitochondria. The relative contribution of circulating glucose to total carbohydrate oxidation was small, accounting for only 13% and 23% of the carbohydrate oxidized at exercise intensities approaching MO2max in dogs and goats, respectively. Unexpectedly, maximal rates of circulating glucose oxidation were nearly the same in the two species (when expressed in absolute terms; dog:goat ratio = 1.2), despite the 2.2-fold difference in aerobic capacity. We conclude that the glycogen stores in the muscle cells are the major source of substrates at maximal rates of oxidation, supplying 60-70% of the total energy. Furthermore, it is this branch of the carbohydrate pathway that is adapted to the large difference in aerobic capacity between dogs and goats.

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