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PeerJ. 2018 Jul 27;6:e5338. doi: 10.7717/peerj.5338. eCollection 2018.

Skeletal muscle mitochondrial volume and myozenin-1 protein differences exist between high versus low anabolic responders to resistance training.

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School of Kinesiology, Auburn University, Auburn, AL, USA.
Lockwood, LLC, Draper, UT, USA.



We sought to examine how 12 weeks of resistance exercise training (RET) affected skeletal muscle myofibrillar and sarcoplasmic protein levels along with markers of mitochondrial physiology in high versus low anabolic responders.


Untrained college-aged males were classified as anabolic responders in the top 25th percentile (high-response cluster (HI); n = 13, dual x-ray absorptiometry total body muscle mass change (Δ) = +3.1 ± 0.3 kg, Δ vastus lateralis (VL) thickness = +0.59 ± 0.05 cm, Δ muscle fiber cross sectional area = +1,426 ± 253 μm2) and bottom 25th percentile (low-response cluster (LO); n = 12, +1.1 ± 0.2 kg, +0.24 ± 0.07 cm, +5 ± 209 μm2; p < 0.001 for all Δ scores compared to HI). VL muscle prior to (PRE) and following RET (POST) was assayed for myofibrillar and sarcoplasmic protein concentrations, myosin and actin protein content, and markers of mitochondrial volume. Proteins related to myofibril formation, as well as whole lysate PGC1-α protein levels were assessed.


Main effects of cluster (HI > LO, p = 0.018, Cohen's d = 0.737) and time (PRE > POST, p = 0.037, Cohen's d = -0.589) were observed for citrate synthase activity, although no significant interaction existed (LO PRE = 1.35 ± 0.07 mM/min/mg protein, LO POST = 1.12 ± 0.06, HI PRE = 1.53 ± 0.11, HI POST = 1.39 ± 0.10). POST myofibrillar myozenin-1 protein levels were up-regulated in the LO cluster (LO PRE = 0.96 ± 0.13 relative expression units, LO POST = 1.25 ± 0.16, HI PRE = 1.00 ± 0.11, HI POST = 0.85 ± 0.12; within-group LO increase p = 0.025, Cohen's d = 0.691). No interactions or main effects existed for other assayed markers.


Our data suggest myofibrillar or sarcoplasmic protein concentrations do not differ between HI versus LO anabolic responders prior to or following a 12-week RET program. Greater mitochondrial volume in HI responders may have facilitated greater anabolism, and myofibril myozenin-1 protein levels may represent a biomarker that differentiates anabolic responses to RET. However, mechanistic research validating these hypotheses is needed.


Citrate synthase; MYOZ1; Muscle hypertrophy

Conflict of interest statement

Christopher Lockwood is the CEO of Lockwood, LCC where he consults with nutritional supplement companies and mainstream media outlets. He has no competing interests in publishing these data. All other authors declare that they have no competing interests.

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