Global and targeted gene expression and protein content in skeletal muscle of young men following short-term creatine monohydrate supplementation

Physiol Genomics. 2008 Jan 17;32(2):219-28. doi: 10.1152/physiolgenomics.00157.2007. Epub 2007 Oct 23.


Creatine monohydrate (CrM) supplementation has been shown to increase fat-free mass and muscle power output possibly via cell swelling. Little is known about the cellular response to CrM. We investigated the effect of short-term CrM supplementation on global and targeted mRNA expression and protein content in human skeletal muscle. In a randomized, placebo-controlled, crossover, double-blind design, 12 young, healthy, nonobese men were supplemented with either a placebo (PL) or CrM (loading phase, 20 g/day x 3 days; maintenance phase, 5 g/day x 7 days) for 10 days. Following a 28-day washout period, subjects were put on the alternate supplementation for 10 days. Muscle biopsies of the vastus lateralis were obtained and were assessed for mRNA expression (cDNA microarrays + real-time PCR) and protein content (Kinetworks KPKS 1.0 Protein Kinase screen). CrM supplementation significantly increased fat-free mass, total body water, and body weight of the participants (P < 0.05). Also, CrM supplementation significantly upregulated (1.3- to 5.0-fold) the mRNA content of genes and protein content of kinases involved in osmosensing and signal transduction, cytoskeleton remodeling, protein and glycogen synthesis regulation, satellite cell proliferation and differentiation, DNA replication and repair, RNA transcription control, and cell survival. We are the first to report this large-scale gene expression in the skeletal muscle with short-term CrM supplementation, a response that suggests changes in cellular osmolarity.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Creatine / administration & dosage
  • Creatine / pharmacology*
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Gene Expression Regulation / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Muscle Proteins / genetics*
  • Muscle Proteins / metabolism*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / drug effects*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / metabolism*
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Time Factors


  • Muscle Proteins
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Creatine