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Diabetes. 2001 Jan;50(1):18-23.

Effect of oral creatine supplementation on human muscle GLUT4 protein content after immobilization.

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Faculty of Physical Education and Physiotherapy, Exercise Physiology and Biomechanics Laboratory, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium.


The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of oral creatine supplementation on muscle GLUT4 protein content and total creatine and glycogen content during muscle disuse and subsequent training. A double-blind placebo-controlled trial was performed with 22 young healthy volunteers. The right leg of each subject was immobilized using a cast for 2 weeks, after which subjects participated in a 10-week heavy resistance training program involving the knee-extensor muscles (three sessions per week). Half of the subjects received creatine monohydrate supplements (20 g daily during the immobilization period and 15 and 5 g daily during the first 3 and the last 7 weeks of rehabilitation training, respectively), whereas the other 11 subjects ingested placebo (maltodextrine). Muscle GLUT4 protein content and glycogen and total creatine concentrations were assayed in needle biopsy samples from the vastus lateralis muscle before and after immobilization and after 3 and 10 weeks of training. Immobilization decreased GLUT4 in the placebo group (-20%, P < 0.05), but not in the creatine group (+9% NS). Glycogen and total creatine were unchanged in both groups during the immobilization period. In the placebo group, during training, GLUT4 was normalized, and glycogen and total creatine were stable. Conversely, in the creatine group, GLUT4 increased by approximately 40% (P < 0.05) during rehabilitation. Muscle glycogen and total creatine levels were higher in the creatine group after 3 weeks of rehabilitation (P < 0.05), but not after 10 weeks of rehabilitation. We concluded that 1) oral creatine supplementation offsets the decline in muscle GLUT4 protein content that occurs during immobilization, and 2) oral creatine supplementation increases GLUT4 protein content during subsequent rehabilitation training in healthy subjects.

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