We have recently shown that PPARδ agonism, used clinically to treat insulin resistance, increases fat oxidation and up-regulates mitochondrial PDK4 mRNA and protein expression in resting skeletal muscle. We hypothesized that PDK4 up-regulation, which inhibits pyruvate dehydrogenase complex (PDC)-dependent carbohydrate (CHO) oxidation, would negatively affect muscle function during sustained contraction where the demand on CHO is markedly increased. Three groups of eight male Wistar rats each received either vehicle or a PPARδ agonist (GW610742X) at two doses (5 and 100 mg (kg body mass (bm))−1 orally for 6 days. On the seventh day, the gastrocnemius–soleus–plantaris muscle group was isolated and snap frozen, or underwent 30 min of electrically evoked submaximal intensity isometric contraction using a perfused hindlimb model. During contraction, the rate of muscle PDC activation was significantly lower at 100 mg (kg bm)−1 compared with control (P < 0.01). Furthermore, the rates of muscle PCr hydrolysis and lactate accumulation were significantly increased at 100 mg (kg bm)−1 compared with control, reflecting lower mitochondrial ATP generation. Muscle tension development during contraction was significantly lower at 100 mg (kg bm)−1 compared with control (25%; P < 0.05). The present data demonstrate that PPARδ agonism inhibits muscle CHO oxidation at the level of PDC during prolonged contraction, and is paralleled by the activation of anaerobic metabolism, which collectively impair contractile function
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