Resistance exercise and the mechanisms of muscle mass regulation in humans: Acute effects on muscle protein turnover and the gaps in our understanding of chronic resistance exercise training adaptation

Andrew Murton, P. L. Greenhaff

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

20 Scopus citations


Increasing muscle mass is important when attempting to maximize sports performance and achieve physique augmentation. However, the preservation of muscle mass is essential to maintaining mobility and quality of life with aging, and also impacts on our capacity to recover from illness. Nevertheless, our understanding of the processes that regulate muscle mass in humans during resistance exercise training, chronic disuse and rehabilitation training following atrophy remains very unclear. Here, we report on some of the recent developments in the study of those processes thought to be responsible for governing human muscle protein turnover in response to intense physical activity. Specifically, the effects of acute and chronic resistance exercise in healthy volunteers and also in response to rehabilitation resistance exercise training following muscle atrophy will be discussed, with discrepancies and gaps in our understanding highlighted. In particular, ubiquitin-proteasome mediated muscle proteolysis (Muscle Atrophy F-box/Atrogin-1 and Muscle RING Finger 1), translation initiation of muscle protein synthesis (mammalian target of rapamycin signaling), and satellite cell mediated myogenesis are highlighted as pathways of special relevance to muscle protein metabolism in response to acute resistance exercise. Furthermore, research focused on quantifying signaling and molecular events that modulate muscle protein synthesis and protein degradation under conditions of chronic resistance training is highlighted as being urgently needed to improve knowledge gaps. These studies need to include multiple time-point measurements over the course of any training intervention and must include dynamic measurements of muscle protein synthesis and degradation and sensitive measures of muscle mass. This article is part of a Directed Issue entitled Molecular basis of muscle wasting.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2209-2214
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Journal of Biochemistry and Cell Biology
Issue number10
StatePublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes



  • Muscle atrophy
  • Muscle protein turnover
  • Muscle rehabilitation
  • Resistance exercise training

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology

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