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Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2006 May;38(5):840-6.

Ibuprofen inhibits skeletal muscle hypertrophy in rats.

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  • 1Center for Exercise Science, University of Florida, Gainesville, 32611, USA.



We sought to determine whether cyclooxygenase (COX) activity is necessary for overload-induced growth of adult rat skeletal muscle, and whether nitric oxide synthase (NOS) activity is involved in upregulation of COX messenger RNA (mRNA) expression in skeletal muscle.


Unilateral surgical removal of the gastrocnemius and soleus was performed on the right hindlimb of 16 female Sprague-Dawley rats (approximately 230 g) to induce chronic overload (OL) of the plantaris for 14 d, with sham surgeries performed on the contralateral leg as a normally loaded (NL) control. Half of the rats were treated with the nonspecific COX inhibitor, ibuprofen (0.2 mg.mL(-1) in drinking water; approximately 20 mg.kg(-1).d(-1)). In a second experiment, the plantaris was unilaterally overloaded for 5 or 14 d in male rats (approximately 350 g; N = 16 rats per time point) and half of the animals were treated with the NOS inhibitor, L-NAME (0.75 mg.mL(-1) in drinking water; approximately 90 mg.kg(-1).d(-1)).


Ibuprofen treatment inhibited plantaris hypertrophy by approximately 50% (P < 0.05) following 14 d of OL, as did L-NAME treatment (P < 0.05). COX-1 and COX-2 mRNA did not differ between any groups at 5 d. At 14 d, however, L-NAME caused a 30-fold increase in plantaris COX-1 mRNA expression independent of loading condition. Additionally, OL induced a 20-fold increase in COX-2 mRNA expression compared with NL (P < 0.05) at 14 d, without affecting COX-1 mRNA level. L-NAME treatment significantly inhibited OL-induced expression of COX-2 mRNA.


COX activity is important for in vivo muscle hypertrophy, and plantaris overload is associated with NOS activity-dependent COX-2 expression.

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