Influence of muscle glycogen availability on ERK1/2 and Akt signaling after resistance exercise in human skeletal muscle
Two pathways that have been implicated for cellular growth and development in response to muscle contraction are the extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK1/2) and Akt signaling pathways. Although these pathways are readily stimulated after exercise, little is known about how nutritional status may affect stimulation of these pathways in response to resistance exercise in human skeletal muscle. To investigate this, experienced cyclists performed 30 repetitions of knee extension exercise at 70% of one repetition maximum after a low (2%) or high (77%) carbohydrate (LCHO or HCHO) diet, which resulted in low or high (∼174 or ∼591 mmol/kg dry wt) preexercise muscle glycogen content. Muscle biopsies were taken from the vastus lateralis before, ∼20 s after, and 10 min after exercise. ERK1/2 and p90 ribosomal S6 kinase phosphorylation increased (P ≤ 0.05) 10 min after exercise, regardless of muscle glycogen availability. Akt phosphorylation was elevated (P < 0.05) 10 min after exercise in the HCHO trial but was unaffected after exercise in the LCHO trial. Mammalian target of rapamycin phosphorylation was similar to that of Akt during each trial; however, change or lack of change was not significant. In conclusion, the ERK1/2 pathway appears to be unaffected by muscle glycogen content. However, muscle glycogen availability appears to contribute to regulation of the Akt pathway, which may influence cellular growth and adaptation in response to resistance exercise in a low-glycogen state.