Postexercise cooling impairs muscle protein synthesis rates in recreational athletes

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Abstract

Key points

Protein ingestion and cooling are strategies employed by athletes to improve postexercise recovery and, as such, to facilitate muscle conditioning. However, whether cooling affects postprandial protein handling and subsequent muscle protein synthesis rates during recovery from exercise has not been assessed. We investigated the effect of postexercise cooling on the incorporation of dietary protein-derived amino acids into muscle protein and acute postprandial (hourly) as well as prolonged (daily) myofibrillar protein synthesis rates during recovery from resistance-type exercise over 2 weeks. Cold-water immersion during recovery from resistance-type exercise lowers the capacity of the muscle to take up and/or direct dietary protein-derived amino acids towards de novo myofibrillar protein accretion. In addition, cold-water immersion during recovery from resistance-type exercise lowers myofibrillar protein synthesis rates during prolonged resistance-type exercise training. Individuals aiming to improve skeletal muscle conditioning should reconsider applying cooling as a part of their postexercise recovery strategy. We measured the impact of postexercise cooling on acute postprandial (hourly) as well as prolonged (daily) myofibrillar protein synthesis rates during adaptation to resistance-type exercise over 2 weeks. Twelve healthy males (aged 21 +/- 2 years) performed a single resistance-type exercise session followed by water immersion of both legs for 20 min. One leg was immersed in cold water (8 degrees C: CWI), whereas the other leg was immersed in thermoneutral water (30 degrees C: CON). After water immersion, a beverage was ingested containing 20 g of intrinsically (l-[1-C-13]-phenylalanine and l-[1-C-13]-leucine) labelled milk protein with 45 g of carbohydrates. In addition, primed continuous l-[ring-H-2(5)]-phenylalanine and l-[1-C-13]-leucine infusions were applied, with frequent collection of blood and muscle samples to assess myofibrillar protein synthesis rates in vivo over a 5 h recovery period. In addition, deuterated water ((H2O)-H-2) was applied with the collection of saliva, blood and muscle biopsies over 2 weeks to assess the effects of postexercise cooling with protein intake on myofibrillar protein synthesis rates during more prolonged resistance-type exercise training (thereby reflecting short-term training adaptation). Incorporation of dietary protein-derived l-[1-C-13]-phenylalanine into myofibrillar protein was significantly lower in CWI compared to CON (0.016 +/- 0.006 vs. 0.021 +/- 0.007 MPE; P = 0.016). Postexercise myofibrillar protein synthesis rates were lower in CWI compared to CON based upon l-[1-C-13]-leucine (0.058 +/- 0.011 vs. 0.072 +/- 0.017% h(-1), respectively; P = 0.024) and l-[ring-H-2(5)]-phenylalanine (0.042 +/- 0.009 vs. 0.053 +/- 0.013% h(-1), respectively; P = 0.025). Daily myofibrillar protein synthesis rates assessed over 2 weeks were significantly lower in CWI compared to CON (1.48 +/- 0.17 vs. 1.67 +/- 0.

36% day(-1), respectively; P = 0.042). Cold-water immersion during recovery from resistance-type exercise reduces myofibrillar protein synthesis rates and, as such, probably impairs muscle conditioning.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)755-772
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Physiology
Volume598
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Feb 2020

Keywords

  • cold-water immersion
  • hydrotherapy
  • muscle protein synthesis
  • adaptation
  • stable isotope tracers
  • heavy water
  • deuterium oxide
  • resistance exercise
  • COLD-WATER IMMERSION
  • CUTANEOUS BLOOD-FLOW
  • SKELETAL-MUSCLE
  • RESISTANCE EXERCISE
  • AMINO-ACIDS
  • RECOVERY
  • PERFORMANCE
  • STRENGTH
  • LIMB
  • ADAPTATIONS

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