Branched-chain amino acids increase p70S6k phosphorylation in human skeletal muscle after resistance exercise

Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2004 Jul;287(1):E1-7. doi: 10.1152/ajpendo.00430.2003. Epub 2004 Mar 2.


The aim of the study was to investigate the effect of resistance exercise alone or in combination with oral intake of branched-chain amino acids (BCAA) on phosphorylation of the 70-kDa S6 protein kinase (p70(S6k)) and mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK), extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK1/2), and p38 MAPK in skeletal muscle. Seven male subjects performed one session of quadriceps muscle resistance training (4 x 10 repetitions at 80% of one repetition maximum) on two occasions. In a randomized order, double-blind, crossover test, subjects ingested a solution of BCAA or placebo during and after exercise. Ingestion of BCAA increased plasma concentrations of isoleucine, leucine, and valine during exercise and throughout recovery after exercise (2 h postexercise), whereas no change was noted after the placebo trial. Resistance exercise led to a robust increase in p70(S6k) phosphorylation at Ser(424) and/or Thr(421), which persisted 1 and 2 h after exercise. BCAA ingestion further enhanced p70(S6k) phosphorylation 3.5-fold during recovery. p70(S6k) phosphorylation at Thr(389) was unaltered directly after resistance exercise. However, during recovery, Thr(389) phosphorylation was profoundly increased, but only during the BCAA trial. Furthermore, phosphorylation of the ribosomal protein S6 was also increased in the recovery period only during the BCAA trial. Exercise led to a marked increase in ERK1/2 and p38 MAPK phosphorylation, which was completely suppressed upon recovery and unaltered by BCAA. In conclusion, BCAA, ingested during and after resistance exercise, mediate signal transduction through p70(S6k) in skeletal muscle.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Adult
  • Amino Acids, Branched-Chain / administration & dosage*
  • Amino Acids, Branched-Chain / metabolism*
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Exercise Test / methods
  • Humans
  • Insulin / blood*
  • Male
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology*
  • Phosphorylation
  • Physical Endurance / physiology*
  • Ribosomal Protein S6 Kinases, 70-kDa / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction / physiology


  • Amino Acids, Branched-Chain
  • Insulin
  • Ribosomal Protein S6 Kinases, 70-kDa