Physiological control of muscle mass in humans during resistance exercise, disuse and rehabilitation

Andrew J. Murton, Paul L. Greenhaff

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Purpose of review: The preservation of skeletal muscle mass is central to maintaining mobility and quality of life with aging and also impacts on our capacity to recover from illness. However, our understanding of the processes that regulate muscle mass in humans during exercise, chronic disuse and rehabilitation remains unclear. This brief review aims to highlight some of the more recent and important findings concerning these physiological stimuli. Recent findings: Although several studies have detailed the molecular events that occur following an acute bout of resistance exercise, a paucity of data appears to remain concerning the molecular and signaling events that underpin resistance exercise training. Reports of increased transcripts for inflammatory proteins following eccentric but not concentric exercise could represent the stimulus for the instigation of structural adaptations that occur following intense muscle lengthening contractions. Studies investigating processes underlying disuse-induced muscle atrophy provide initial evidence to support the notion that transient increases in muscle protein degradation occur following the onset of muscle disuse in humans. Summary: The need for further studies to improve our basic understanding of muscle-associated processes in humans remains, particularly in relation to the temporal changes in muscle processes that occur during resistance training.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)249-254
Number of pages6
JournalCurrent Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Muscle disuse atrophy
  • Muscle protein turnover
  • Nutrition
  • Resistance exercise

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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