Human muscle gene expression following resistance exercise and blood flow restriction

Micah J. Drummond, Satoshi Fujita, Abe Takashi, Hans C. Dreyer, Elena Volpi, Blake B. Rasmussen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

141 Scopus citations


INTRODUCTION: Blood flow restriction in combination with low-intensity resistance exercise (REFR) increases skeletal muscle size to a similar extent as compared with traditional high-intensity resistance exercise training. However, there are limited data describing the molecular adaptations that occur after REFR. PURPOSE: To determine whether hypoxia inducible factor-1 alpha (HIF-1α) and REDD1 mRNA are expressed differently in REFR compared with low-intensity resistance exercise with no blood flow restriction (CONTROL). Secondly, to determine whether low-intensity resistance exercise is able to induce changes in mRNA expression of several anabolic and catabolic genes as typically seen with high-intensity resistance exercise. METHODS: Six subjects were studied at baseline and 3 h after a bout of leg resistance exercise (20% 1RM) in REFR and CONTROL subjects. Each subject participated in both groups, with 3 wk separating each visit. Muscle biopsy samples were analyzed for mRNA expression, using qRT-PCR. RESULTS: Our primary finding was that there were no differences between CONTROL and REFR for any of the selected genes at 3 h after exercise (P > 0.05). However, low-intensity resistance exercise increased HIF-1α, p21, MyoD, and muscle RING finger 1 (MuRF1) mRNA expression and decreased REDD1 and myostatin mRNA expression in both groups (P < 0.05). CONCLUSION: Low-intensity resistance exercise can alter skeletal muscle mRNA expression of several genes associated with muscle growth and remodeling, such as REDD1, HIF-1α, MyoD, MuRF1, and myostatin. Further, the results from REFR and CONTROL were similar, indicating that the changes in early postexercise gene expression were attributable to the low-intensity resistance exercise bout, and not blood flow restriction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)691-698
Number of pages8
JournalMedicine and Science in Sports and Exercise
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • HIF-1α
  • Ischemia-reperfusion
  • REDD1
  • mRNA
  • mTOR

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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