Purpose: To determine relationships between post-exercise changes in systemic [testosterone, growth hormone (GH), insulin like grow factor 1 (IGF-1) and interleukin 6 (IL-6)], or intramuscular [skeletal muscle androgen receptor (AR) protein content and p70S6K phosphorylation status] factors in a moderately-sized cohort of young men exhibiting divergent resistance training-mediated muscle hypertrophy.
Methods: Twenty three adult males completed 4 sessions•wk⁻¹ of resistance training for 16 wk. Muscle biopsies were obtained before and after the training period and acutely 1 and 5 h after the first training session. Serum hormones and cytokines were measured immediately, 15, 30 and 60 minutes following the first and last training sessions of the study.
Results: Mean fiber area increased by 20% (range: -7 to 80%; P<0.001). Protein content of the AR was unchanged with training (fold change = 1.17 ± 0.61; P=0.19); however, there was a significant correlation between the changes in AR content and fiber area (r=0.60, P=0.023). Phosphorylation of p70S6K was elevated 5 hours following exercise, which was correlated with gains in mean fiber area (r=0.54, P=0.007). There was no relationship between the magnitude of the pre- or post-training exercise-induced changes in free testosterone, GH, or IGF-1 concentration and muscle fiber hypertrophy; however, the magnitude of the post exercise IL-6 response was correlated with muscle hypertrophy (r=0.48, P=0.019).
Conclusion: Post-exercise increases in circulating hormones are not related to hypertrophy following training. Exercise-induced changes in IL-6 correlated with hypertrophy, but the mechanism for the role of IL-6 in hypertrophy is not known. Acute increases, in p70S6K phosphorylation and changes in muscle AR protein content correlated with muscle hypertrophy implicating intramuscular rather than systemic processes in mediating hypertrophy.