The effect of resistance exercise on p53, caspase-9, and caspase-3 in trained and untrained men

J Strength Cond Res. 2012 Apr;26(4):1142-8. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e31822e58e5.


Apoptosis is a programmed cell death that has been demonstrated in human and animal studies and plays an essential role to remove injured cells after acute strenuous exercise. Protein p53 plays important roles in regulating apoptosis via mitochondrial pathway. Therefore, the aims of this study were to determine the effects of acute resistance exercise (RE) on serum p53, caspase-9, and caspase-3, markers of apoptosis, and whether resistance training status influences the magnitude of the RE-induced apoptosis. Nine resistance-trained (RT) (age, 22.37 ± 1.99 years; height, 174 ± 5.04 cm; body weight, 71.32 ± 5.57 kg; and body mass index [BMI] 23.58 ± 2.05 kg·m(-2)) and 9 untrained (UT) college-age men (age, 22.25 ± 2.13 years; height, 171 ± 3.4 cm; body weight, 68.45 ± 3.23 kg; and BMI, 23.41 ± 1.08 kg·m(-2)) volunteered to participate in this study. Resistance-trained and UT men completed an RE bout consisting of 4 sets of 6 exercise at 80% of 1 repetition maximum until failure. Serum levels of p53, caspase-9, and caspase-3 were examined at preexercise (pre), immediately post (IP), 3 hours post (3 hours post), and 24 hours post RE (24 hours post). In UT, serum levels of p53, caspase-9, and caspase-3 were significantly increased at IP compared with RT. However, plasma insulin-like growth factor 1 level was higher for RT compared with UT at IP. Collectively, our data suggest the role of p53 in regulating apoptosis through mitochondrial pathway as measured by caspase-9 and caspase-3 after acute RE in UT. Our results also revealed that regular RT alters apoptosis biomarkers, especially the intrinsic pathway of apoptosis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Apoptosis / physiology
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Body Mass Index
  • Caspase 3 / blood*
  • Caspase 9 / blood*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology
  • Resistance Training*
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53 / blood*
  • Young Adult


  • Biomarkers
  • TP53 protein, human
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53
  • CASP3 protein, human
  • CASP9 protein, human
  • Caspase 3
  • Caspase 9