Rockville, Md. (August 10, 2021)—New data from research conducted in adult mice show that distinct epigenetic (the study of changes in organisms) changes occur in muscle fiber and non-muscle fiber nuclei with exercise training, and that some DNA methylation alterations persist for up to three months after training is discontinued. In addition, epigenetic changes in muscle remodeling genes, specifically in muscle fiber nuclei, could allow for more rapid muscle adaptations upon retraining. When mice were retrained, the animals that had trained previously appeared to grow their muscles faster than those that had not trained before. These results could be explained in part by the long-term epigenetic changes caused by previous exercise. In other words, the previously conditioned mice may have been epigenetically “primed” for growth.
“Understanding how epigenetics contribute to muscle adaptation may help guide future therapeutic interventions at preventing atrophy or facilitating muscle growth in susceptible populations such as older individuals,” said co-researcher Kevin A. Murach, PhD, from the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville. “Furthermore, understanding how previously trained muscle is more sensitive to exercise stimuli at the epigenetic level could have consequences for enhancing exercise performance.”
Read the full article, “Nucleus Type-Specific DNA Methylomics Reveals Epigenetic ‘Memory’ of Prior Adaptation in Skeletal Muscle,” published ahead of print in Function. Contact APS Media Relations or call 301.634.7314 to schedule an interview with a member of the research team.