Forty high-intensity interval training sessions blunt exercise-induced changes in the nuclear protein content of PGC-1α and p53 in human skeletal muscle

Cesare Granata, Rodrigo S.F. Oliveira, Jonathan P. Little, David J. Bishop

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Exercise-induced increases in peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-γ coactivator-1α (PGC-1α) and p53 protein content in the nucleus mediate the initial phase of exercise-induced mitochondrial biogenesis. Here, we investigated whether exercise-induced increases in these and other markers of mitochondrial biogenesis were altered after 40 sessions of twice-daily high-volume, high-intensity interval training (HVT) in human skeletal muscle. Vastus lateralis muscle biopsies were collected from 10 healthy recreationally active participants before, immediately postexercise, and 3 h after a session of high-intensity interval exercise (HIIE) performed at the same absolute exercise intensity before and after HVT (pre-HVT and post-HVT, respectively). The protein content of common markers of exercise-induced mitochondrial biogenesis was assessed in nuclear- and cytosolic-enriched fractions by immunoblotting; mRNA contents of key transcription factors and mitochondrial genes were assessed by qPCR. Despite exercise-induced increases in PGC-1α, p53, and plant homeodomain finger-containing protein 20 (PHF20) protein content, the phosphorylation of p53 and acetyl-CoA carboxylase (p-p53 Ser15 and p-ACC Ser79, respectively), and PGC-1α mRNA Pre-HVT, no significant changes were observed post-HVT. Forty sessions of twice-daily high-intensity interval training blunted all of the measured exercise-induced molecular events associated with mitochondrial biogenesis that were observed pre-HVT. Future studies should determine whether this loss relates to the decrease in relative exercise intensity, habituation to the same exercise stimulus, or a combination of both.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E224-E236
Number of pages13
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2020


  • endurance exercise
  • high-intensity interval training
  • mitochondrial adaptations
  • p53
  • PGC-1α

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