Protein synthesis and the expression of growth-related genes are altered by running in human vastus lateralis and soleus muscles

Matthew P. Harber, Justin D. Crane, Jared M. Dickinson, Bozena Jemiolo, Ulrika Raue, Todd A. Trappe, Scott W. Trappe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

89 Scopus citations


Recent evidence suggests aerobic exercise may help preserve soleus muscle mass during unloading. The purpose of this investigation was to examine the musclespecific metabolic response to running as it relates to muscle growth. Mixed-muscle protein synthesis [fractional synthetic rate (FSR)] and gene expression (GE) were examined in the vastus lateralis (VL) and soleus (SOL) muscles from eight men (26 ± yr; V̇O2max 63 ± 2 ml·kg-1·min-1) before and after a 45-min level-grade treadmill run at 77 ± 1% intensity. Muscle glycogen utilization was similar between muscles. Resting FSR was similar between the VL (0.080 ± 0.007 %/h) and SOL (0.086 ± 0.008 %/h) and was higher (P < 0.05) 24 h postexercise compared with rest for both muscles. The absolute change in FSR was not different between muscles (0.030 ± 0.007 vs. 0.037 ± 0.012 %/h for VL and SOL). At baseline, myostatin GE was approximately twofold higher (P < 0.05) in SOL compared with VL, while no other muscle-specific differences in GE were present. After running, myostatin GE was suppressed (P < 0.05) in both muscles at 4 h and was higher (P < 0.05) than baseline at 24 h for VL only. Muscle regulatory factor 4 mRNA was elevated (P < 0.05) at 4 h in both SOL and VL; MyoD and peroxisome-proliferator- activated receptor-gamma coactivator-1α (PGC-1α) were higher (P < 0.05) at 4 h, and forkhead box [FOXO]3A was higher at 24 h in SOL only, while muscle-RING-finger protein-1 (MuRF-1) was higher (P < 0.05) at 4 h in VL only. Myogenin and atrogin-1 GE were unaltered. The similar increases between muscles in FSR support running as part of the exercise countermeasure to preserve soleus mass during unloading. The subtle differences in GE suggest a potential mechanism for muscle-specific adaptations to chronic run training.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)R708-R714
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Regulatory Integrative and Comparative Physiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Exercise
  • Fractional synthesis rate
  • Myogenic
  • Myostatin
  • Proteolytic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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