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Molecular Attributes of Human Skeletal Muscle at Rest and After Unaccustomed Exercise: An Age Comparison

Roberts, Michael D1; Kerksick, Chad M1,2,3; Dalbo, Vincent J4; Hassell, Scott E1; Tucker, Patrick S1; Brown, Ryan5

Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: May 2010 - Volume 24 - Issue 5 - pp 1161-1168
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e3181da786f
Original Article

Roberts, MD, Kerksick, CM, Dalbo, VJ, Hassell, SE, Tucker, PS, and Brown, R. Molecular attributes of human skeletal muscle at rest and after unaccustomed exercise: an age comparison. J Strength Cond Res 24(5): 1161-1168, 2010-The current study examined muscle DNA and protein concentrations ([ ]) and the [RNA] (assumed to represent translational capacity), [RNA]:[DNA] (assumed to represent transcriptional efficiency) and [protein]:[RNA] (assumed to represent translational efficiency) in younger vs. older participants during a resting state. Further, changes in muscle [DNA], translational capacity, and transcriptional efficiency were analyzed 24 hours after an unaccustomed resistance exercise bout. Younger (20.9 ± 0.5 years, 84.0 ± 5.2 kg, 26.6 ± 1.8 kg·m−2; n = 13) and older men (67.6 ± 1.3 years, 88.7 ± 4.8 kg, 28.6 ± 1.4 kg·m−2; n = 13) reported to the laboratory and completed an unaccustomed bout of lower-body resistance training (i.e., 3 sets of 10 repetitions at 80% 1 repetition maximum for Smith squat, leg press, and leg extensions). Muscle biopsies from the vastus lateralis were obtained before and 24 hours after exercise. Baseline [RNA], [DNA], [protein], and [RNA]:[DNA] were not different between age groups (p > 0.05). Baseline [protein]:[RNA] was greater in younger vs. older men (p = 0.045), whereas 24-hour postexercise [RNA]:[DNA] tended to be greater in older men (p = 0.087). These findings suggest that a decrease in the efficiency of translational processes occurs in older human skeletal muscle, whereas global transcriptional processes appear to be unaltered when compared with those in younger men. In lieu of these data, it remains apparent that muscle-protein synthesis is impaired in aging skeletal muscle and effective countermeasures such as resistance exercise and nutritional adequacy must be undertaken by older populations to offset this phenomenon.

1Applied Biochemistry and Molecular Physiology Laboratory, Health and Exercise Science Department, University of Oklahoma, Norman, Oklahama; 2Endocrinology and Diabetes Section, Department of Pediatrics, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Oklahoma City, Oklahama; 3Department of Physiology, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; 4School of Medicine and Applied Sciences, CQUniversity, Rockhampton, Australia; and 5University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Address correspondence to Dr. Chad M. Kerksick,

© 2010 National Strength and Conditioning Association