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    No effect of five days of bed rest or short-term resistance exercise prehabilitation on markers of skeletal muscle mitochondrial content and dynamics in older adults

    Marshall, RN, Smeuninx, B, Seabright, AP, Morgan, PT, Atherton, PJ, Philp, A and Breen, L (2022) No effect of five days of bed rest or short-term resistance exercise prehabilitation on markers of skeletal muscle mitochondrial content and dynamics in older adults. Physiological Reports, 10 (13). e15345. ISSN 2051-817X

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    Abstract

    Bed rest (BR) results in significant impairments in skeletal muscle metabolism. Mitochondrial metabolism is reportedly highly sensitive to disuse, with dysregulated fission-fusion events and impaired oxidative function previously reported. The effects of clinically relevant short-term BR (≤5 days) on mitochondrial protein expression are presently unclear, as are the effects of exercise prehabilitation as a potential counteractive intervention. The present study examined the effects of a 5-day period of BR and short-term resistance exercise prehabilitation (ST-REP) on mitochondrial-protein content. Ten older men (71 ± 4 years) underwent 5 days of BR, completing four sessions of high-volume unilateral resistance exercise prehabilitation over 7 days beforehand. Muscle biopsies were obtained from the vastus lateralis in the non-exercised control and exercised legs, both pre- and post-prehabilitation and pre- and post-BR, to determine changes in citrate synthase enzyme activity and the expression of key proteins in the mitochondrial electron transport chain and molecular regulators of fission-fusion dynamics, biosynthesis, and mitophagy. We observed no significant effect of either BR or ST-REP on citrate synthase protein content, enzyme activity, or ETC complex I-V protein content. Moreover, we observed no significant changes in markers of mitochondrial fission and fusion (p-DRP1S616, p-DRP1S637, p-DRP1S616/S637 ratio, p-MFFS146, Mitofillin, OPA1, or MFN2 (p > 0.05 for all). Finally, we observed no differences in markers of biosynthesis (p-AMPKT172, p-ACCS79, PGC1a, TFAM) or mitophagy-related signaling (ULK-1, BNIP3/NIX, LC3B I/II) (p > 0.05 for all). In contrast to previous longer-term periods of musculoskeletal disuse (i.e., 7–14 days), a clinically relevant, 5-day period of BR resulted in no significant perturbation in muscle mitochondrial protein signaling in healthy older adults, with no effect of ST-REP in the week prior to BR. Accordingly, disuse-induced muscle atrophy may precede alterations in mitochondrial content.

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