Blood flow-restricted resistance exercise alters the surface profile, miRNA cargo and functional impact of circulating extracellular vesicles

Sci Rep. 2020 Apr 3;10(1):5835. doi: 10.1038/s41598-020-62456-3.


Ischemic exercise conducted as low-load blood flow restricted resistance exercise (BFRE) can lead to muscle remodelling and promote muscle growth, possibly through activation of muscle precursor cells. Cell activation can be triggered by blood borne extracellular vesicles (EVs) as these nano-sized particles are involved in long distance signalling. In this study, EVs isolated from plasma of healthy human subjects performing a single bout of BFRE were investigated for their change in EV surface profiles and miRNA cargos as well as their impact on skeletal muscle precursor cell proliferation. We found that after BFRE, five EV surface markers and 12 miRNAs were significantly altered. Furthermore, target prediction and functional enrichment analysis of the miRNAs revealed several target genes that are associated to biological pathways involved in skeletal muscle protein turnover. Interestingly, EVs from BFRE plasma increased the proliferation of muscle precursor cells. In addition, alterations in surface markers and miRNAs indicated that the combination of exercise and ischemic conditioning during BFRE can stimulate blood cells to release EVs. These results support that BFRE promotes EV release to engage in muscle remodelling and/or growth processes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Blotting, Western
  • Extracellular Vesicles / metabolism
  • Extracellular Vesicles / physiology*
  • Extracellular Vesicles / ultrastructure
  • Flow Cytometry
  • High-Throughput Nucleotide Sequencing
  • Humans
  • Male
  • MicroRNAs / genetics
  • MicroRNAs / metabolism*
  • Microscopy, Electron, Transmission
  • Muscle Proteins / metabolism
  • Muscle, Skeletal / blood supply*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / metabolism
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology
  • Regional Blood Flow / physiology
  • Resistance Training*
  • Young Adult


  • MicroRNAs
  • Muscle Proteins