Background: Skeletal muscle remodeling is a critical component of an organism's response to environmental changes. Exercise causes structural changes in muscle and can induce phase shifts in circadian rhythms, fluctuations in physiology and behavior with a period of around 24 hours that are maintained by a core clock mechanism. Both exercise-induced remodeling and circadian rhythms rely on the transcriptional regulation of key genes.
Results: We used DNA microarrays to determine the effects of resistance exercise (RE) on gene regulation in biopsy samples of human quadriceps muscle obtained 6 and 18 hours after an acute bout of isotonic exercise with one leg. We also profiled diurnal gene regulation at the same time points (2000 and 0800 hours) in the non-exercised leg. Comparison of our results with published circadian gene profiles in mice identified 44 putative genes that were regulated in a circadian fashion. We then used quantitative PCR to validate the circadian expression of selected gene orthologs in mouse skeletal muscle.
Conclusions: The coordinated regulation of the circadian clock genes Cry1, Per2, and Bmal1 6 hours after RE and diurnal genes 18 hours after RE in the exercised leg suggest that RE may directly modulate circadian rhythms in human skeletal muscle.