Skeletal Muscle Dysfunction and Exercise Intolerance in Children Treated with Haematopoietic Stem Cell Transplant—A Pilot Feasibility Study Journal Articles uri icon

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  • Haematopoietic stem cell transplant (HSCT) is an intensive therapy for some pediatric hematological illnesses. Survivors are at risk for adverse effects including exercise intolerance. Peripheral tissue dysfunction may contribute to exercise intolerance; therefore, we examined the feasibility of a magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) protocol to evaluate skeletal muscle metabolism in children post-HSCT. We measured demographic characteristics, aerobic exercise capacity (YMCA protocol), and skeletal muscle function in response to exercise (MRS; Siemens 3T MRI) in five children post-allogeneic HSCT and five age/body mass index-matched healthy controls (HCs). The mean age (± standard deviation) of the HSCT group and HC group were 11 ± 1.2 and 12.8 ± 2.4 years, respectively. Children post-HSCT had a lower peak aerobic exercise capacity compared to HCs (27.8 ± 3.4 vs. 40.3 ± 8.1 mL kg−1 min−1, respectively; p = 0.015). Exercise MRS testing protocols were successfully completed by all HSCT and HC participants; however, MRS-derived skeletal muscle metabolism variables were not different between the two groups. In conclusion, the use of exercise protocols in conjunction with MRS to assess peripheral skeletal muscle metabolism was achievable in children post-HSCT. In the future, larger studies should determine if skeletal muscle function is associated with exercise capacity in children post-HSCT.


  • West, Sarah L
  • White, Gillian
  • Caterini, Jessica E
  • Rayner, Tammy
  • Schechter, Tal
  • Nathan, Paul C
  • Wells, Greg

publication date

  • May 8, 2019