Effects of gender on resting leg blood flow: Implications for measurement of regional substrate oxidation

Michael D. Jensen, Tu T. Nguyen, A. Hernández Mijares, C. Michael Johnson, Michael J. Murray

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


These studies were designed to examine whether the respiratory quotient (RQ) of leg tissue (primarily skeletal muscle) would increase to a greater degree in women than in men during meal ingestion. We found that mean leg and systemic RQ values were similar in men under both basal and fed conditions, whereas the agreement was poor in women. In women, leg RQ values tended to be greater than the systemic RQ, whereas splanchnic RQ values tended to be lower than the systemic RQ. The possibility that measurement imprecision accounted for the different findings in women could not be excluded because the arteriovenous blood O2 differences were almost twice as great in men as in women (53.7 ± 5.4 vs. 28.6 ± 2.9 ml of O2/l, respectively; P < 0.01), as were venoarterial blood CO2 differences. The smaller arteriovenous differences in women appeared to limit our ability to accurately measure their leg RQ values. O2 uptake relative to leg fat-free mass (FFM) was not different between men and women, whereas leg blood flow relative to leg FFM was greater in women than in men (55 ± 3 vs. 39 ± 2 ml · kg FFM-1 · min-1, respectively; P < 0.001). These findings were confirmed by examining data from other studies conducted in our laboratory to create a larger data set. We conclude that resting leg blood flow in women is greater (relative to FFM) than in men, making it more difficult to accurately measure leg RQ in women.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)141-145
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of applied physiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1998


  • Blood carbon dioxide
  • Blood oxygen
  • Body composition
  • Indirect calorimetry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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