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Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2012 Jun 1;302(11):E1343-51. doi: 10.1152/ajpendo.00004.2012. Epub 2012 Mar 6.

More than a store: regulatory roles for glycogen in skeletal muscle adaptation to exercise.

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Dept. of Neurobiology, Physiology and Behavior, University of California-Davis, 1 Shields Ave., Davis, CA 95616, USA.


The glycogen content of muscle determines not only our capacity for exercise but also the signaling events that occur in response to exercise. The result of the shift in signaling is that frequent training in a low-glycogen state results in improved fat oxidation during steady-state submaximal exercise. This review will discuss how the amount or localization of glycogen particles can directly or indirectly result in this differential response to training. The key direct effect discussed is carbohydrate binding, whereas the indirect effects include the metabolic shift toward fat oxidation, the increase in catecholamines, and osmotic stress. Although our understanding of the role of glycogen in response to training has expanded exponentially over the past 5 years, there are still many questions remaining as to how stored carbohydrate affects the muscular adaptation to exercise.

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