What is the central question of this study? Does 60 min of peristaltic pulse external pneumatic compression (EPC) alter gene and protein expression patterns related to metabolism, vascular biology, redox balance and inflammation in vastus lateralis biopsy samples? What is the main finding and its importance? A single bout of EPC transiently upregulates PGC-1α mRNA, while also upregulating endothelial nitric oxide synthase protein and nitric oxide metabolite concentrations in vastus lateralis biopsy samples. We investigated whether a single 60 min bout of whole-leg, lower pressure external pneumatic compression (EPC) altered select vascular, metabolic, antioxidant and inflammation-related mRNAs. Ten participants (eight male, two female; aged 22.0 ± 0.4 years) reported to the laboratory 4 h postprandial, and vastus lateralis muscle biopsies were obtained before (PRE) and 1 and 4 h after EPC treatment. Messenger RNA expression was analysed using real-time RT-PCR, and significant mRNA findings were investigated further by Western blot analysis of respective protein concentrations. Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor γ coactivator-1α (PGC-1α) mRNA increased by 77% 1 h following EPC compared with PRE levels (P = 0.005), but no change in protein concentration 1 or 4 h post-EPC was observed. Increases in endothelial nitric oxide sythase (eNOS) mRNA (+44%) and superoxide dismutase 2 (SOD2) mRNA (+57%) 1 h post-EPC as well as an increase in interleukin-10 mRNA (+132%) 4 h post-EPC compared with PRE levels were observed, but only approached significance (P = 0.076, 0.077 and 0.074, respectively). Interestingly, eNOS protein (+40%, P = 0.025) and nitrate and nitrite (NOx) concentrations (+69%, P = 0.025) increased 1-4 h post-EPC. Moreover, SOD2 protein tended to increase from PRE to 4 h post-EPC (+43%, P = 0.074), although no changes in tissue 4-hydroxnonenal levels was observed. An acute bout of EPC transiently upregulates PGC-1α mRNA, while also upregulating eNOS protein and NOx concentrations in vastus lateralis biopsy samples. Future research should characterize the origin of these responses (e.g. vascular or muscle fibre cells) and how the acute effects of EPC application on gene and protein expression observed herein are associated with functional improvements (e.g. metabolism, vascular function) in acute and chronic models.
© 2015 The Authors. Experimental Physiology © 2015 The Physiological Society.