Resistance exercise (RE) volume is recognized as an important factor that stimulates muscle protein synthesis (MPS) and is considered, at least in part, to be involved in the mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1)-associated signaling. However, the effects of relatively high-volume RE on mTORC1 and MPS remain unclear. In the present study, we used an animal model of RE to investigate the relationship between RE volume and MPS. Male Sprague-Dawley rats were subjected to RE, and muscle samples were obtained 6 h after performing 1, 3, 5, 10, or 20 sets of RE. Although 1 set of RE did not increase MPS [measured by the surface sensing of translation (SUnSET) method], multiple sets (3, 5, 10, and 20 sets) significantly increased MPS. However, the increase in MPS reached a plateau after 3 or 5 sets of RE, and no further increase in MPS was observed with additional RE sets. In contrast to the MPS response, we observed that p70S6K phosphorylation at Thr389, a marker of mTORC1 activity, and Ser240/244 phosphorylation of rpS6, a downstream target of p70S6K, gradually increased with higher RE volume. The above results suggest that the relationship between RE volume and MPS was not linear. Thus the increase in MPS with increasing RE volume saturates before p70S6K phosphorylation, suggesting a threshold effect for the relationship between p70S6K activation and MPS.NEW & NOTEWORTHY The aim of this study was to investigate the relationship between resistance exercise (RE) volume and muscle protein synthesis. We found that the relationship between RE volume and p70S6K phosphorylation was almost linear, but the increase in muscle protein synthesis began to plateau after approximately five sets of RE.
Keywords: exercise volume; mTOR; resistance exercise.
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