Daily resistance-type exercise stimulates muscle protein synthesis in vivo in young men

Andrew M. Holwerda, Kevin J. M. Paulussen, Maarten Overkamp, Joey S. J. Smeets, Annemie P. Gijsen, Joy P. B. Goessens, Lex B. Verdijk, Luc J. C. van Loon*

*Corresponding author for this work

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Resistance-type exercise increases muscle protein synthesis rates during acute postexercise recovery. The impact of resistance-type exercise training on (local) muscle protein synthesis rates under free-living conditions on a day-to-day basis remains unclear. We determined the impact of daily unilateral resistance-type exercise on local myofibrillar protein synthesis rates during a 3-day period. Twelve healthy young men (22 +/- 1 yr) were recruited to participate in this study where they performed daily, unilateral resistance-type exercise during a 3-day intervention period. Two days before the exercise training subjects ingested 400 ml deuterated water (2H(2)O). Additional 50-ml doses of deuterated water were ingested daily during the training period. Saliva and blood samples were collected daily to assess body water and amino acid precursor deuterium enrichments, respectively. Muscle tissue biopsies were collected before and after the 3 days of unilateral resistance-type exercise training from both the exercised and the nonexercised, control leg for the assessment of muscle protein synthesis rates. Deuterated water dosing resulted in a steady-state body water enrichment of 0.70 +/- 0.03%. Intramuscular free [2H] alanine enrichment increased up to 1.84 +/- 0.06 mole percent excess (MPE) before the exercise training and did not change in both the exercised and control leg during the 3 subsequent exercise training days (2.11 +/- 0.11 and 2.19 +/- 0.12 MPE, respectively; P > 0.05). Muscle protein synthesis rates averaged 1.984 +/- 0.118 and 1.642 +/- 0.089%/day in the exercised vs. nonexercised, control leg when assessed over the entire 3-day period (P < 0.05). Daily resistance-type exercise stimulates (local) muscle protein synthesis in vivo in humans. NEW & NOTEWORTHY This study demonstrates that daily resistance-type exercise stimulates muscle protein synthesis rates in vivo in humans over multiple days. Whereas acute studies have shown that resistance-type exercise increases muscle protein synthesis rates by 50-100%, we observed a lower impact of resistance-type exercise under free-living conditions. We also compared precursor tracer selection for the calculation of muscle protein synthesis rates and observed that saliva deuterium enrichment serves as an appropriate and practical choice of precursor.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)66-75
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Applied Physiology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2018


  • deuterated water
  • exercise
  • heavy water
  • muscle protein synthesis


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