Endurance Exercise Enhances the Effect of Strength Training on Muscle Fiber Size and Protein Expression of Akt and mTOR.
PLoS One. 2016 ;11(2):e0149082. Epub 2016 Feb 17. PMID: 26885978
Reports concerning the effect of endurance exercise on the anabolic response to strength training have been contradictory. This study re-investigated this issue, focusing on training effects on indicators of protein synthesis and degradation. Two groups of male subjects performed 7 weeks of resistance exercise alone (R; n = 7) or in combination with preceding endurance exercise, including both continuous and interval cycling (ER; n = 9). Muscle biopsies were taken before and after the training period. Similar increases in leg-press 1 repetition maximum (30%; P<0.05) were observed in both groups, whereas maximal oxygen uptake was elevated (8%; P<0.05) only in the ER group. The ER training enlarged the areas of both type I and type II fibers, whereas the R protocol increased only the type II fibers. The mean fiber area increased by 28% (P<0.05) in the ER group, whereas no significant increase was observed in the R group. Moreover, expression of Akt and mTOR protein was enhanced in the ER group, whereas only the level of mTOR was elevated following R training. Training-induced alterations in the levels of both Akt and mTOR protein were correlated to changes in type I fiber area (r = 0.55-0.61, P<0.05), as well as mean fiber area (r = 0.55-0.61, P<0.05), reflecting the important role played by these proteins in connection with muscle hypertrophy. Both training regimes reduced the level of MAFbx protein (P<0.05) and tended to elevate that of MuRF-1. The present findings indicate that the larger hypertrophy observed in the ER group is due more to pronounced stimulation of anabolic rather than inhibition of catabolic processes.