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J Appl Physiol (1985). 2014 Nov 15;117(10):1170-9. doi: 10.1152/japplphysiol.00180.2014. Epub 2014 Sep 25.

Alcohol impairs skeletal muscle protein synthesis and mTOR signaling in a time-dependent manner following electrically stimulated muscle contraction.

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Department of Cellular and Molecular Physiology, Pennsylvania State College of Medicine, Hershey, Pennsylvania
Department of Cellular and Molecular Physiology, Pennsylvania State College of Medicine, Hershey, Pennsylvania.


Alcohol (EtOH) decreases protein synthesis and mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR)-mediated signaling and blunts the anabolic response to growth factors in skeletal muscle. The purpose of the current investigation was to determine whether acute EtOH intoxication antagonizes the contraction-induced increase in protein synthesis and mTOR signaling in skeletal muscle. Fasted male mice were injected intraperitoneally with 3 g/kg EtOH or saline (control), and the right hindlimb was electrically stimulated (10 sets of 6 contractions). The gastrocnemius muscle complex was collected 30 min, 4 h, or 12 h after stimulation. EtOH decreased in vivo basal protein synthesis (PS) in the nonstimulated muscle compared with time-matched Controls at 30 min, 4 h, and 12 h. In Control, but not EtOH, PS was decreased 15% after 30 min. In contrast, PS was increased in Control 4 h poststimulation but remained unchanged in EtOH. Last, stimulation increased PS 10% in Control and EtOH at 12 h, even though the absolute rate remained reduced by EtOH. The stimulation-induced increase in the phosphorylation of S6K1 Thr(421)/Ser(424) (20-52%), S6K1 Thr(389) (45-57%), and its substrate rpS6 Ser(240/244) (37-72%) was blunted by EtOH at 30 min, 4 h, and 12 h. Phosphorylation of 4E-BP1 Ser(65) was also attenuated by EtOH (61%) at 4 h. Conversely, phosphorylation of extracellular signal-regulated kinase Thr(202)/Tyr(204) was increased by stimulation in Control and EtOH mice at 30 min but only in Control at 4 h. Our data indicate that acute EtOH intoxication suppresses muscle protein synthesis for at least 12 h and greatly impairs contraction-induced changes in synthesis and mTOR signaling.


4E-binding protein; anabolic resistance; p70S6K1; resistance exercise; skeletal muscle metabolism

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