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Front Physiol. 2019 Mar 26;10:312. doi: 10.3389/fphys.2019.00312. eCollection 2019.

Physical Activity Associated Proteomics of Skeletal Muscle: Being Physically Active in Daily Life May Protect Skeletal Muscle From Aging.

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Intramural Research Program, National Institute on Aging - National Institutes of Health, Baltimore, MD, United States.


Muscle strength declines with aging and increasing physical activity is the only intervention known to attenuate this decline. In order to adequately investigate both preventive and therapeutic interventions against sarcopenia, a better understanding of the biological changes that are induced by physical activity in skeletal muscle is required. To determine the effect of physical activity on the skeletal muscle proteome, we utilized liquid-chromatography mass spectrometry to obtain quantitative proteomics data on human skeletal muscle biopsies from 60 well-characterized healthy individuals (20-87 years) who reported heterogeneous levels of physical activity (not active, active, moderately active, and highly active). Over 4,000 proteins were quantified, and higher self-reported physical activity was associated with substantial overrepresentation of proteins associated with mitochondria, TCA cycle, structural and contractile muscle, and genome maintenance. Conversely, proteins related to the spliceosome, transcription regulation, immune function, and apoptosis, DNA damage, and senescence were underrepresented with higher self-reported activity. These differences in observed protein expression were related to different levels of physical activity in daily life and not intense competitive exercise. In most instances, differences in protein levels were directly opposite to those reported in the literature observed with aging. These data suggest that being physically active in daily life has strong and biologically detectable beneficial effects on muscle.


DNA damage; immunity; mass spectrometry; mitochondria; physical activity; proteomics; skeletal muscle; spliceosome

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