Stimulation of myofibrillar synthesis by exercise is mediated by more efficient translation of mRNA

J Appl Physiol (1985). 1999 Apr;86(4):1220-5. doi: 10.1152/jappl.1999.86.4.1220.


Resistance exercises stimulate protein synthesis in human muscle, but the roles of changes in mRNA concentrations and changes in the efficiency of mRNA translation have not been defined. The present study was done to determine whether resistance exercise affects concentrations of total RNA, total mRNA, actin mRNA, or myosin heavy-chain mRNA (total and isoform specific). Eight subjects, 62-75 yr old, performed unilateral knee extensions at 80% of their one-repetition-maximum capacity on days 1, 3, and 6 of the study. On day 7, biopsies of exercised and nonexercised vastus lateralis muscles were obtained. Myofibrillar synthesis was determined by stable- isotope incorporation, and mRNA concentrations were determined by membrane hybridization and PCR-based methods. The exercise stimulated myofibrillar synthesis [30 +/- 6 (SE)%] without affecting RNA or mRNA concentrations. The effect of exercise on protein synthesis in individual subjects did not correlate with the effect on total RNA and mRNA concentrations. These data suggest that the stimulation of myofibrillar synthesis by resistance exercise is mediated by more efficient translation of mRNA.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Actins / genetics*
  • Aged
  • Biopsy
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscle, Skeletal / cytology
  • Muscle, Skeletal / metabolism*
  • Myofibrils / metabolism*
  • Myosin Heavy Chains / genetics*
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Protein Biosynthesis*
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics*
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism


  • Actins
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Myosin Heavy Chains