Molecular Responses to Moderate Endurance Exercise in Skeletal Muscle

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Stefan M. Pasiakos
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Holly L. McClung
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James P. McClung
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Maria L. Urso
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Matthew A. Pikosky
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Gregory J. Cloutier
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Roger A. Fielding
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Andrew J. Young
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This study examined alterations in skeletal-muscle growth and atrophy-related molecular events after a single bout of moderate-intensity endurance exercise. Muscle biopsies were obtained from 10 men (23 ± 1 yr, body mass 80 ± 2 kg, and VO2peak 45 ± 1 ml · kg−1 · min−1) immediately (0 hr) and 3 hr after a 60-min bout of cycle exercise (60% ± 5% VO2peak). Corresponding muscle biopsies were also obtained under resting conditions. The phosphorylation status of insulin/IGF-PI3K molecular-signaling proteins, ubiquitin-proteasome-related gene expression, FOXO transcription factors, and myogenic regulatory factors in muscle samples was analyzed using multiplex analysis, Western blotting, and quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR). A condition–time interaction was observed for Akt phosphorylation (p < .05) with multiplexing. Regardless of endurance exercise, Akt phosphorylation decreased and ERK phosphorylation increased at 3 hr compared with 0 hr (p < .05). Levels of p70S6K phosphorylation were 110% greater (p < .05) at 3 hr than at 0 hr using Western blots. MuRF mRNA expression postexercise increased; levels were 4.7- and 5.7-fold greater (p < .05) at 0 hr and 3 hr, respectively, than at rest with qRT-PCR. Atrogin mRNA expression was up-regulated 3.2-fold 3 hr postexercise compared with rest. These findings demonstrate modest changes in the molecular responses to moderate endurance exercise in the absence of nutrition. This study provides the groundwork for future investigations designed to optimize the metabolic conditions necessary to positively influence the cellular mechanisms specific to skeletal-muscle protein turnover during recovery from endurance exercise.

Pasiakos, McClung, McClung, Pikosky, and Young are with the Military Nutrition Div., and Urso, the Military Performance Div., U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine, Natick, MA. Cloutier and Fielding are with the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging, Tufts University, Boston, MA.

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