Purpose: Muscle hypertrophy is likely to result from the cumulative effects of repeated bouts of resistance exercise (RE) on postexercise molecular responses. Therefore, we determined muscle growth- and regeneration-related mRNA expression in response to a single RE bout both before and after a strength-training (ST) period. By means of this novel longitudinal setting, we examined whether postexercise gene expression at the transcriptional level is different in the trained and untrained state.
Methods: Eleven untrained healthy older men and 11 controls (age 62.3 ± 6.3 yr) volunteered as subjects. Muscle biopsies from the vastus lateralis muscle were taken at rest and 1 and 48 h after five sets of 10-repetition leg press RE both before and after 21 wk of supervised ST.
Results: Myostatin and myogenin mRNA expression, determined by real-time RT-PCR, increased (P < 0.05) after ST. Conversely, the single RE bout decreased myostatin mRNA after ST, with the decrease showing a negative correlation (r = −0.65, P < 0.05) with the long-term increase in myostatin during ST. Furthermore, RE before ST increased myogenin mRNA (P < 0.05) and tended to increase after ST (P = 0.08). Myostatin receptor activin IIb mRNA levels were decreased at 1 h after RE in the pre-ST condition (P = 0.05) and also tended to decrease in the post-ST condition (P = 0.07). RE-induced downregulation in myostatin mRNA correlated with the ST-induced increase in total body muscle mass (r = −0.82, P = 0.002).
Conclusions: A single bout of RE in older men can downregulate the expression of myostatin receptor activin IIb mRNA. ST influences the response of myostatin to RE, as short-term RE-induced downregulation of myostatin was observed only after ST. The results also indicate that RE-induced alterations in myostatin mRNA expression may have a role in ST-induced muscle hypertrophy.