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Resistance exercise stimulates mixed muscle protein synthesis in lean and obese young adults

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posted on 14.08.2018, 11:11 by Carl Hulston, Rachel Woods, Rebecca Dewhurst-Trigg, Sion A. Parry, Stephanie Gagnon, Luke Baker, Lewis James, Oonagh Markey, Neil Martin, Richard Ferguson, Gerrit van Hall
Obese individuals exhibit a diminished muscle protein synthesis response to nutrient stimulation when compared with their lean counterparts. However, the effect of obesity on exercise‐stimulated muscle protein synthesis remains unknown. Nine lean (23.5 ± 0.6 kg/m2) and 8 obese (33.6 ± 1.2 kg/m2) physically active young adults participated in a study that determined muscle protein synthesis and intracellular signaling at rest and following an acute bout of resistance exercise. Mixed muscle protein synthesis was determined by combining stable isotope tracer ([13C6]phenylalanine) infusion with serial biopsies of the vastus lateralis. A unilateral leg resistance exercise model was adopted so that resting and postexercise measurements of muscle protein synthesis could be obtained simultaneously. Obesity was associated with higher basal levels of serum insulin (P < 0.05), plasma triacylglycerol (P < 0.01), plasma cholesterol (P < 0.01), and plasma CRP (P < 0.01), as well as increased insulin resistance determined by HOMA‐IR (P < 0.05). However, resting and postexercise rates of muscle protein synthesis were not significantly different between lean and obese participants (P = 0.644). Furthermore, resistance exercise stimulated muscle protein synthesis (~50% increase) in both groups (P < 0.001), with no difference between lean and obese (P = 0.809). Temporal increases in the phosphorylation of intracellular signaling proteins (AKT/4EBP1/p70S6K) were observed within the exercised leg (P < 0.05), with no differences between lean and obese. These findings suggest a normal anabolic response to muscle loading in obese young adults.


The research was supported by the National Institute for Health Research Leicester Biomedical Research Centre, which is a partnership between University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust, Loughborough University, and The University of Leicester, and an Early Career Grant from the Society for Endocrinology (to CJH).



  • Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences

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Physiological Reports






e13799 - e13799


HULSTON, C.J. ... et al, 2018. Resistance exercise stimulates mixed muscle protein synthesis in lean and obese young adults. Physiological Reports, 6 (14), e13799.


Wiley on behalf of The Physiological Society and the American Physiological Society © The Authors


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