Blood Flow Restriction Only Increases Myofibrillar Protein Synthesis with Exercise

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Abstract

Purpose: Combining blood flow restriction (BFR) with exercise can stimulate skeletal muscle hypertrophy. Recent observations in an animal model suggest that BFR performed without exercise can also induce anabolic effects. We assessed the effect of BFR performed both with and without low-load resistance-type exercise (LLRE) on in vivo myofibrillar protein synthesis rates in young men. Methods: Twenty healthy young men (age = 24 +/- 1 yr, body mass index = 22.9 +/- 0.6 kg.m(-2)) were randomly assigned to remain in resting condition (REST +/- BFR; n = 10) or to perform LLRE (LLRE +/- BFR at 20% one-repetition maximum; n = 10), combined with two 5-min cycles of single leg BFR. Myofibrillar protein synthesis rates were assessed during a 5-h post-BFR period by combining a primed continuous L-[ring-C-13(6)] phenylalanine infusion with the collection of blood samples, and muscle biopsies from the BFR leg and the contralateral control leg. The phosphorylation status of anabolic signaling (mammalian target of rapamycin pathway) and metabolic stress (acetyl-CoA carboxylase)-related proteins, as well as the mRNA expression of genes associated with skeletal muscle mass regulation, was assessed in the collected muscle samples. Results: Under resting conditions, no differences in anabolic signaling or myofibrillar protein synthesis rates were observed between REST + BFR and REST (0.044% +/- 0.004% vs 0.043% +/- 0.004% per hour, respectively; P = 0.683). By contrast, LLRE + BFR increased myofibrillar protein synthesis rates by 10% +/- 5% compared with LLRE (0.048% +/- 0.005% vs 0.043% +/- 0.004% per hour, respectively; P = 0.042). Furthermore, compared with LLRE, LLRE + BFR showed higher phosphorylation status of acetyl-CoA carboxylase and 4E-BP1 as well as the elevated mRNA expression of MuRF1 (all P <0.05). Conclusion: BFR does not increase myofibrillar protein synthesis rates in healthy young men under resting conditions. When combined with LLRE, BFR increases postexercise myofibrillar protein synthesis rates in vivo in humans.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1137-1145
Number of pages9
JournalMedicine and Science in Sports and Exercise
Volume51
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2019

Keywords

  • SKELETAL MUSCLE
  • HYPERTROPHY
  • ANABOLIC SIGNALING
  • STABLE ISOTOPES
  • GENE EXPRESSION
  • INTENSITY RESISTANCE EXERCISE
  • SKELETAL-MUSCLE
  • QUADRICEPS MUSCLE
  • GENE-EXPRESSION
  • SYNTHESIS RATES
  • IN-VIVO
  • STRENGTH
  • YOUNG
  • PHOSPHORYLATION

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