Cluster analysis tests the importance of myogenic gene expression during myofiber hypertrophy in humans

J Appl Physiol (1985). 2007 Jun;102(6):2232-9. doi: 10.1152/japplphysiol.00024.2007. Epub 2007 Mar 29.


We applied K-means cluster analysis to test the hypothesis that muscle-specific factors known to modulate protein synthesis and satellite cell activity would be differentially expressed during progressive resistance training (PRT, 16 wk) in 66 human subjects experiencing extreme, modest, and failed myofiber hypertrophy. Muscle mRNA expression of IGF-I isoform Ea (IGF-IEa), mechanogrowth factor (MGF, IGF-IEc), myogenin, and MyoD were assessed in muscle biopsies collected at baseline (T1) and 24 h after the first (T2) and last (T3) loading bouts from previously untrained subjects clustered as extreme responders (Xtr, n=17), modest responders (Mod, n=32), and nonresponders (Non, n=17) based on mean myofiber hypertrophy. Myofiber growth averaged 2,475 microm2 in Xtr, 1,111 microm2 in Mod, and -16 microm2 in Non. Main training effects revealed increases in all transcripts (46-83%, P<0.005). For the entire cohort, IGF-IEa, MGF, and myogenin mRNAs were upregulated by T2 (P<0.05), while MyoD did not increase significantly until T3 (P<0.001). Within clusters, MGF and myogenin upregulation was robust in Xtr (126% and 65%) and Mod (73% and 41%) vs. no changes in Non. While significant in all clusters by T3, IGF-IEa increased most in Xtr (105%) and least in Non (44%). Although MyoD expression increased overall, no changes within clusters were detected. We reveal for the first time that MGF and myogenin transcripts are differentially expressed in subjects experiencing varying degrees of PRT-mediated myofiber hypertrophy. The data strongly suggest the load-mediated induction of these genes may initiate important actions necessary to promote myofiber growth during PRT, while the role of MyoD is less clear.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Biomarkers / metabolism
  • Cluster Analysis
  • Female
  • Gene Expression
  • Gene Expression Profiling / methods*
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Humans
  • Hypertrophy / metabolism
  • Hypertrophy / pathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscle Contraction / physiology
  • Muscle Proteins / metabolism*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / metabolism*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / pathology*
  • Physical Exertion / physiology*


  • Biomarkers
  • Muscle Proteins