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Eur J Sport Sci. 2016;16(4):455-64. doi: 10.1080/17461391.2015.1063701. Epub 2015 Aug 25.

Greater basal skeletal muscle AMPKα phosphorylation in men than in women: Associations with anaerobic performance.

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a Department of Physical Education , University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria , Campus Universitario de Tafira, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria , Spain.
b Genetic Unit , Childhood Hospital-Materno Infantil de Las Palmas , Las Palmas de Gran Canaria , Spain.



This study was designed to investigate the association of gender, fibre type composition, and anaerobic performance with the basal skeletal muscle signalling cascades regulating muscle phenotype.


Muscle biopsies were obtained from 25 men and 10 women all young and healthy.


Protein phosphorylation of Thr(172)AMPKα, Ser(221)ACCβ, Thr(286)CaMKII as well as total protein abundance of PGC-1α, SIRT1, and CnA were measured by Western blot and anaerobic performance by the Wingate test.


Percent type I myosin heavy chain (MHC I) was lower in men (37.1 ± 10.4 vs. 58.5 ± 12.5, P < .01). Total, free testosterone and free androgen index were higher in men (11.5, 36.6 and 40.6 fold, respectively, P < .01). AMPKα phosphorylation was 2.2-fold higher in men compared to women (P < .01). Total Ser(221)ACCβ and Thr(286)CaMKII fractional phosphorylation tended to be higher in men (P = .1). PGC1-α and SIRT1 total protein expression was similar in men and women, whereas CnA tended to be higher in men (P = .1). Basal AMPKα phosphorylation was linearly related to the percentage of MHC I in men (r = 0.56; P < .01), but not in women. No association was observed between anaerobic performance and basal phosphorylations in men and women, analysed separately.


In summary, skeletal muscle basal AMPKα phosphorylation is higher in men compared to women, with no apparent effect on anaerobic performance.


AMPK; anaerobic performance; gender; muscle phenotype; muscle signalling

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