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Myofibrillar protein synthesis rates are increased in chronically exercised skeletal muscle despite decreased anabolic signaling


The molecular responses to acute resistance exercise are well characterized. However, how cellular signals change over time to modulate chronic adaptations to more prolonged exercise training is less well understood. We investigated anabolic signaling and muscle protein synthesis rates at several time points after acute and chronic eccentric loading. Adult rat tibialis anterior muscle was stimulated for six sets of ten repetitions, and the muscle was collected at 0 h, 6 h, 18 h and 48 h. In the last group of animals, 48 h after the first exercise bout a second bout was conducted, and the muscle was collected 6 h later (54 h total). In a second experiment, rats were exposed to four exercise sessions over the course of 2 weeks. Anabolic signaling increased robustly 6 h after the first bout returning to baseline between 18 and 48 h. Interestingly, 6 h after the second bout mTORC1 activity was significantly lower than following the first bout. In the chronically exercised rats, we found baseline anabolic signaling was decreased, whereas myofibrillar protein synthesis (MPS) was substantially increased, 48 h after the last bout of exercise. The increase in MPS occurred in the absence of changes to muscle fiber size or mass. In conclusion, we find that anabolic signaling is already diminished after the second bout of acute resistance type exercise. Further, chronic exposure to resistance type exercise training results in decreased basal anabolic signaling but increased overall MPS rates.

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