Creatine kinase or phosphocreatine kinase, also called creatine phosphokinase-an enzyme that is present in various types of tissues in a human body. It is present predominantly in brain and muscle.
Function of Creatine Kinase:
A chemical reaction where creatine is converted into phosphocreatine is catalyzed by creatine kinase. This conversion takes place when it applies itself to the utilization of ATP or adenosine triphosphate. Adenosine diphosphate is a basic energy source for brain, skeletal muscle and smooth muscle. Phoshocreatine is an energy reservoir for adenosine diphosphate's regeneration.
In clinical terms, this enzyme is used as a marker for myocardial infarction which is heart attack and in muscle breakdown by assaying it in blood tests.
Types of Creatine Kinase:
The enzyme creatine kinase (CK) is found to predominantly exist as two subunits, namely, B-brain type and M-muscle type. This leads to the formation of three isoenzymes- CK-MM, CK-MB and CK-BB. Different chromosomes are found to hold the genes for these subunits; the M subunit on 19q13 while the B subunit is on 14q32.
Besides, two mitochondrial creatine kinase in sarcomeric and ubiquitous forms exist.
Determination of Creatine Kinase (CK) Levels:
This can be done effectively by laboratory testing:
- A sample of blood is isolated into two fractions that contain serum and the cells respectively.
- The creatine kinase level in the serum is evaluated.
- It is compared to the normal levels of 22 -198 U/L.
Role of Creatine Kinase in Sports:
It is generally agreed that parameters like age, race, environment, climate, gender, physical activity and muscle mass decides the level of total creatine kinase. Scientists correlate high levels of creatine kinase serum with the status of physical training. Damages of cells in skeletal muscles due to strenuous exercise leads to increased level of serum creatine kinase. Some cases of prolonged exercises, for example, marathon or exercises involving weight-bearing and running is found to induce the highest activity of serum CK after exercise. This increases level of serum CK relapses into basal levels, 24 hours after the patient starts resting. It is also possible that the levels of serum increases due to muscle diseases in their pre-clinical stages.
Controversies about Creatine Kinase:
It is found in a study that, patient who has high levels of the serum CK was prone to get affected by muscle weakness years later. However, in some other cases, there was no sign of muscle weakness though the patient had a history of high serum CK levels.
Areas of Research:
The individual variability among the athletes can be understood by the serum CK levels. Athletes who respond slowly to any form of physical training are found to have low level of serum CK. Evidently, athletes who respond high to the same form of physical training is said to have high levels of serum CK. However, research is carried on in knowing the relationship between fiber types, muscle size, physical training and the release of serum CK after the physical activity. This might also pave a way to study about hyperCKemia and myopathy in detail.
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