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Introduction: Exercise performed with blood flow restriction simultaneously enhances the acute responses to both myogenic and mitochondrial pathways with roles in training adaptation. We investigated isoform-specific gene expression of the peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma coactivator 1 and selected target genes and proteins regulating skeletal muscle training adaptation. Methods: Nine healthy, untrained males participated in a randomized, counterbalanced, crossover design in which each subject completed a bout of low-intensity endurance exercise performed with blood flow restriction (15 min cycling at 40% of V·O2peak, BFR-EE), endurance exercise (30 min cycling at 70% of V·O2peak, EE), or resistance exercise (4 × 10 repetitions of leg press at 70% of one-repetition maximum) separated by at least 1 wk of recovery. A single resting muscle biopsy (vastus lateralis) was obtained 2 wk before the first exercise trial (rest) and 3 h after each bout. Results: Total PGC-1[alpha] mRNA abundance, along with all four isoforms, increased above rest with EE only (P < 0.05) being higher than BFR-EE (P < 0.05). PGC-1[alpha]1, 2, and 4 were higher after EE compared with resistance exercise (P < 0.05). EE also increased vascular endothelial growth factor, Hif-1[alpha], and MuRF-1 mRNA abundance above rest (P < 0.05), whereas COXIV mRNA expression increased with EE compared with BFR-EE (P < 0.05). Conclusion: The attenuated expression of all four PGC-1[alpha] isoforms when EE is performed with blood flow restriction suggests this type of exercise provides an insufficient stimulus to activate the signaling pathways governing mitochondrial and angiogenesis responses observed with moderate- to high-intensity EE.


Mary MacKillop Institute for Health Research

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Journal Article

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