Divergent anabolic response to exercise in young and older adult men-dependency on time frame of measurement

Søren Reitelseder, Jacob Bülow, Lars Holm*

*Corresponding author for this work
3 Citations (Scopus)


Older adults' skeletal muscle has shown to be less responsive to anabolic stimuli as compared to young both in vitro, in short and controlled in vivo settings and in long-term training studies. However, to translate controlled mechanistic findings to long-term adaptations intermediate measures allowing daily life routines with regard to activity and diet would be useful to evaluate physiological interventions. The purpose of this study was to investigate the exercise effect in young and older adults with 2 independent methods to measure muscle protein synthesis rate. Healthy young and old men were recruited to the study protocol where myofibrillar fractional synthesis rate was measured during 2 days allowing normal activities of daily living with D2O-labeled alanine and during 4 hours in the overnight fasted state with [13C6]phenylalanine infusion. During this period 1 leg completed an exercise session every day (exercise leg) while the contralateral leg was kept inactive (normal leg). Both legs were used for activities of daily living. Two-day myofibrillar fractional synthesis rate was significantly higher in the exercise leg in both young and old as compared to normal leg with no age difference. The 4-hour overnight fasted myofibrillar fractional synthesis rate showed that only young exercise leg was significantly higher than normal leg. The present findings support the notion that anabolic resistance exists in the skeletal muscle of healthy older men when evaluated in controlled settings. However, this response is not as clear when measured during daily life where variance is greater, which calls for further investigations in larger cohorts.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournals of Gerontology - Series A Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences
Issue number6
Pages (from-to)996-999
Number of pages4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2021


  • Alanine
  • Daily living
  • Deuterated water
  • Muscle protein synthesis
  • Phenylalanine


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