Effects of caffeine on mouse skeletal muscle power output during recovery from fatigue

Rob S. James, Robbie S. Wilson, Graham N. Askew

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    37 Citations (Scopus)


    The effects of 10 mM (high) and 70 μM (physiologically relevant) caffeine on force, work output, and power output of isolated mouse extensor digitorum longus (EDL) and soleus muscles were investigated in vitro during recovery from fatigue at 35°C. To monitor muscle performance during recovery from fatigue, we regularly subjected the muscle to a series of cyclical work loops. Force, work, and power output during shortening were significantly higher after treatment with 10 mM caffeine, probably as a result of increased Ca2+ release from the sarcoplasmic reticulum. However, the work required to relengthen the muscle also increased in the presence of 10 mM caffeine. This was due to a slowing of relaxation and an increase in muscle stiffness. The combination of increased work output during shortening and increased work input during lengthening had different effects on the two muscles. Net power output of mouse soleus muscle decreased as a result of 10 mM caffeine exposure, whereas net power output of the EDL muscle showed a transient, significant increase. Treatment with 70 μM caffeine had no significant effect on force, work, or power output of EDL or soleus muscles, suggesting that the plasma concentrations found when caffeine is used to enhance performance in human athletes might not directly affect the contractile performance of fatigued skeletal muscle.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)545-552
    Number of pages8
    JournalJournal of Applied Physiology
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - Feb 2004


    • Extensor digitorum longus
    • Force
    • Soleus
    • Work

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Physiology
    • Physiology (medical)


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