Skeletal muscle protein content and synthesis after voluntary running and subsequent unweighting

Kathryn A. Munoz, Anders Aannestad, Marc E. Tischler, Erik J. Henriksen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


The effects of exercise training with or without subsequent unweighting on wet weight, protein content, and in vivo fractional protein synthesis were studied in soleus and plantaris muscles of juvenile female Sprague-Dawley rats under the following four conditions: normal weight bearing (N), voluntary-activity wheel running (WR) for up to 4 weeks, mechanical unweighting for 7 days via hindlimb suspension (HS), or wheel running followed by 7 days of hindlimb suspension (WR-HS). Fractional protein synthesis was determined by the 3H-phenylalanine flooding method. Increases (P < .05) in wet weight and protein content were detected in the soleus after just 1 week of running, with no increase in fractional protein synthesis. Two weeks of running were required for an increase in protein synthesis in this muscle. Significant increases in these parameters were first observed in the plantaris after 2 weeks of running. Maximal increases occurred by 3 weeks in both muscles. Reductions (P < .05) in soleus and plantaris parameters were observed in both HS and WR-HS groups compared with N and WR groups, respectively. However, protein content and fractional synthesis were maintained at significantly higher levels in WR-HS muscles compared with HS muscles. These results indicate that (1) wheel training represents a noninvasive method for inducing rapid hypertrophy of the skeletal muscles studied, in part by increasing fractional protein synthesis; (2) unweighting decreases protein content and synthesis to the same extent whether the muscles are trained; and (3) previously hypertrophied muscles display higher protein contents and fractional protein synthesis following unweighting compared with unweighted muscles of untrained animals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)994-999
Number of pages6
Issue number8
StatePublished - Jul 1994

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology


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