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Epigenetic Responses to Acute Resistance Exercise in Trained vs. Sedentary Men

Bagley, James R.1; Burghardt, Kyle J.2; McManus, Ryan3; Howlett, Bradley2; Costa, Pablo B.3; Coburn, Jared W.3; Arevalo, Jose A.3; Malek, Moh H.4; Galpin, Andrew J.3

The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: May 02, 2019 - Volume Publish Ahead of Print - Issue - p
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000003185
Original Research: PDF Only

Bagley, JR, Burghardt, KJ, McManus, R, Howlett, B, Costa, PB, Coburn, JW, Arevalo, JA, Malek, MH, and Galpin, AJ. Epigenetic responses to acute resistance exercise in trained vs. sedentary men. J Strength Cond Res XX(X): 000–000, 2019—Acute resistance exercise (RE) alters DNA methylation, an epigenetic process that influences gene expression and regulates skeletal muscle adaptation. This aspect of cellular remodeling is poorly understood, especially in resistance-trained (RT) individuals. The study purpose was to examine DNA methylation in response to acute RE in RT and sedentary (SED) young men, specifically targeting genes responsible for metabolic, inflammatory, and hypertrophic muscle adaptations. Vastus lateralis biopsies were performed before (baseline), 30 minutes after, and 4 hours after an acute RE bout (3 × 10 repetitions at 70% 1 repetition maximum [1RM] leg press and leg extension) in 11 RT (mean ± SEM: age = 26.1 ± 1.0 years; body mass = 84.3 ± 0.2 kg; leg press 1RM = 412.6 ± 25.9 kg) and 8 SED (age = 22.9 ± 1.1 years; body mass = 75.6 ± 0.3 kg; leg press 1RM = 164.8 ± 22.5 kg) men. DNA methylation was analyzed through methylation sensitive high-resolution melting using real-time polymerase chain reaction. Separate 2 (group) × 3 (time) repeated-measures analyses of variance and analyses of covariance were performed to examine changes in DNA methylation for each target gene. Results showed that acute RE (a) hypomethylated LINE-1 (measure of global methylation) in RT but not SED, (b) hypermethylated metabolic genes (GPAM and SREBF2) in RT, while lowering SREBF2 methylation in SED, and (c) did not affect methylation of genes associated with inflammation (IL-6 and TNF-α) or hypertrophy (mTOR and AKT1). However, basal IL-6 and TNF-α were lower in SED compared with RT. These findings indicate the same RE stimulus can illicit different epigenetic responses in RT vs. SED men and provides a molecular mechanism underpinning the need for differential training stimuli based on subject training backgrounds.

1Department of Kinesiology, Muscle Physiology Laboratory, San Francisco State University, San Francisco, California;

2Department of Pharmacy Practice, Eugene Applebaum College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan;

3Department of Kinesiology, Biochemistry and Molecular Exercise Physiology Laboratory, Center for Sport Performance, California State University, Fullerton, California; and

4Integrative Physiology of Exercise Laboratory, Eugene Applebaum College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan

Address correspondence to Dr. Andrew J. Galpin,

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Copyright © 2019 by the National Strength & Conditioning Association.