Obesity Alters the Muscle Protein Synthetic Response to Nutrition and Exercise

Front Nutr. 2019 Jun 13:6:87. doi: 10.3389/fnut.2019.00087. eCollection 2019.


Improving the health of skeletal muscle is an important component of obesity treatment. Apart from allowing for physical activity, skeletal muscle tissue is fundamental for the regulation of postprandial macronutrient metabolism, a time period that represents when metabolic derangements are most often observed in adults with obesity. In order for skeletal muscle to retain its capacity for physical activity and macronutrient metabolism, its protein quantity and composition must be maintained through the efficient degradation and resynthesis for proper tissue homeostasis. Life-style behaviors such as increasing physical activity and higher protein diets are front-line treatment strategies to enhance muscle protein remodeling by primarily stimulating protein synthesis rates. However, the muscle of individuals with obesity appears to be resistant to the anabolic action of targeted exercise regimes and protein ingestion when compared to normal-weight adults. This indicates impaired muscle protein remodeling in response to the main anabolic stimuli to human skeletal muscle tissue is contributing to poor muscle health with obesity. Deranged anabolic signaling related to insulin resistance, lipid accumulation, and/or systemic/muscle inflammation are likely at the root of the anabolic resistance of muscle protein synthesis rates with obesity. The purpose of this review is to discuss the impact of protein ingestion and exercise on muscle protein remodeling in people with obesity, and the potential mechanisms underlining anabolic resistance of their muscle.

Keywords: TLR4; anabolic resistance; exercise; fat mass; inflammation; mTORC1; muscle mass; p70S6K.

Publication types

  • Review