Exercise training impacts skeletal muscle gene expression related to the kynurenine pathway

David J. Allison*, Joshua P. Nederveen, Tim Snijders, Kirsten E. Bell, Dinesh Kumbhare, Stuart M. Phillips, Gianni Parise, Jennifer J. Heisz

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Exercise positively impacts mood and symptoms of depression; however, the mechanisms underlying these effects are not fully understood. Recent evidence highlights a potential role for skeletal muscle-derived transcription factors to influence tryptophan metabolism, along the kynurenine pathway, which has important implications in depression. This has important consequences for older adults, whose age-related muscle deterioration may influence this pathway and may increase their risk for depression. Although exercise training has been shown to improve skeletal muscle mass in older adults, whether this also translates into improvements in transcription factors and metabolites related to the kynurenine pathway has yet to be examined. The aim of the present study was to examine the influence of a 12-wk exercise program on skeletal muscle gene expression of transcription factors, kynurenine aminotransferase (KAT) gene expression, and plasma concentrations of tryptophan metabolites (kynurenines) in healthy older men over 65 yr of age. Exercise training significantly increased skeletal muscle gene expression of transcription factors (peroxisome proliferatoractivated receptor-gamma coactivator 1 alpha, peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-alpha, and peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-delta : 1.77, 1.99, 2.18-fold increases, respectively, P <0.01] and KAT isoforms 1-4 (6.5, 2.1, 2.2, and 2.6-fold increases, respectively, P

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)C444-C448
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology-Cell Physiology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2019


  • aging
  • kynurenine
  • PGC-1 alpha
  • physical activity
  • skeletal muscle
  • ACID

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