KEY POINTS: Blood flow restricted resistance exercise (BFR-RE) is capable of inducing comparable adaptations to traditional resistance exercise (RE), despite a lower total exercise volume. It has been suggested that an increase in reactive oxygen species (ROS) production may be involved in this response; however, oxygen partial pressure ( P O 2 ) is reduced during BFR-RE, and the influence of P O 2 on mitochondrial redox balance remains poorly understood. In human skeletal muscle tissue, we demonstrate that both maximal and submaximal mitochondrial ROS emission rates are acutely decreased 2 h following BFR-RE, but not RE, occurring along with a reduction in tissue oxygenation during BFR-RE. We further suggest that P O 2 is involved in this response because an in vitro analysis revealed that reducing P O 2 dramatically decreased mitochondrial ROS emissions and electron leak to ROS. Altogether, these data indicate that mitochondrial ROS emission rates are attenuated following BFR-RE, and such a response is likely influenced by reductions in P O 2 .
ABSTRACT: Low-load blood flow restricted resistance exercise (BFR-RE) training has been proposed to induce comparable adaptations to traditional resistance exercise (RE) training, however, the acute signalling events remain unknown. Although a suggested mechanism of BFR-RE is an increase in reactive oxygen species (ROS) production, oxygen partial pressure ( P O 2 ) is reduced during BFR-RE, and the influence of O2 tension on mitochondrial redox balance remains ambiguous. We therefore aimed to determine whether skeletal muscle mitochondrial bioenergetics were altered following an acute bout of BFR-RE or RE, and to further examine the role of P O 2 in this response. Accordingly, muscle biopsies were obtained from 10 males at rest and 2 h after performing three sets of single-leg squats (RE or BFR-RE) to failure at 30% one-repetition maximum. We determined that mitochondrial respiratory capacity and ADP sensitivity were not altered in response to RE or BFR-RE. Although maximal (succinate) and submaximal (non-saturating ADP) mitochondrial ROS emission rates were unchanged following RE, BFR-RE attenuated these responses by ∼30% compared to pre-exercise, occurring along with a reduction in skeletal muscle tissue oxygenation during BFR-RE (P < 0.01 vs. RE). In a separate cohort of participants, evaluation of mitochondrial bioenergetics in vitro revealed that mild O2 restriction (50 µm) dramatically attenuated maximal (∼4-fold) and submaximal (∼50-fold) mitochondrial ROS emission rates and the fraction of electron leak to ROS compared to room air (200 µm). Combined, these data demonstrate that mitochondrial ROS emissions are attenuated following BFR-RE, a response which may be mediated by a reduction in skeletal muscle P O 2 .