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PLoS One. 2014 Mar 18;9(3):e92031. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0092031. eCollection 2014.

Whole blood transcriptomics and urinary metabolomics to define adaptive biochemical pathways of high-intensity exercise in 50-60 year old masters athletes.

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Department of Biomedical and Molecular Sciences, Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada.
School of Kinesiology and Health Studies, Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada.
Department of Biochemistry and the Cambridge Systems Biology Centre, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, United Kingdom.
Division of Cardiology, McGill University Health Centre, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.


Exercise is beneficial for a variety of age-related disorders. However, the molecular mechanisms mediating the beneficial adaptations to exercise in older adults are not well understood. The aim of the current study was to utilize a dual approach to characterize the genetic and metabolic adaptive pathways altered by exercise in veteran athletes and age-matched untrained individuals. Two groups of 50-60 year old males: competitive cyclists (athletes, n = 9; VO2peak 59.1±5.2 ml·kg(-1)·min(-1); peak aerobic power 383±39 W) and untrained, minimally active individuals (controls, n = 8; VO2peak 35.9±9.7 ml·kg(-1)·min(-1); peak aerobic power 230±57 W) were examined. All participants completed an acute bout of submaximal endurance exercise, and blood and urine samples pre- and post-exercise were analyzed for gene expression and metabolic changes utilizing genome-wide DNA microarray analysis and NMR spectroscopy-based metabolomics, respectively. Our results indicate distinct differences in gene and metabolite expression involving energy metabolism, lipids, insulin signaling and cardiovascular function between the two groups. These findings may lead to new insights into beneficial signaling pathways of healthy aging and help identify surrogate markers for monitoring exercise and training load.

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