Functional, structural and molecular plasticity of mammalian skeletal muscle in response to exercise stimuli

Flück, Martin (2006). Functional, structural and molecular plasticity of mammalian skeletal muscle in response to exercise stimuli. Journal of Experimental Biology, 209(Pt 12), pp. 2239-48. Cambridge: Company of Biologists 10.1242/jeb.02149

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Biological systems have acquired effective adaptive strategies to cope with physiological challenges and to maximize biochemical processes under imposed constraints. Striated muscle tissue demonstrates a remarkable malleability and can adjust its metabolic and contractile makeup in response to alterations in functional demands. Activity-dependent muscle plasticity therefore represents a unique model to investigate the regulatory machinery underlying phenotypic adaptations in a fully differentiated tissue. Adjustments in form and function of mammalian muscle have so far been characterized at a descriptive level, and several major themes have evolved. These imply that mechanical, metabolic and neuronal perturbations in recruited muscle groups relay to the specific processes being activated by the complex physiological stimulus of exercise. The important relationship between the phenotypic stimuli and consequent muscular modifications is reflected by coordinated differences at the transcript level that match structural and functional adjustments in the new training steady state. Permanent alterations of gene expression thus represent a major strategy for the integration of phenotypic stimuli into remodeling of muscle makeup. A unifying theory on the molecular mechanism that connects the single exercise stimulus to the multi-faceted adjustments made after the repeated impact of the muscular stress remains elusive. Recently, master switches have been recognized that sense and transduce the individual physical and chemical perturbations induced by physiological challenges via signaling cascades to downstream gene expression events. Molecular observations on signaling systems also extend the long-known evidence for desensitization of the muscle response to endurance exercise after the repeated impact of the stimulus that occurs with training. Integrative approaches involving the manipulation of single factors and the systematic monitoring of downstream effects at multiple levels would appear to be the ultimate method for pinpointing the mechanism of muscle remodeling. The identification of the basic relationships underlying the malleability of muscle tissue is likely to be of relevance for our understanding of compensatory processes in other tissues, species and organisms.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Further Contribution)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Pre-clinic Human Medicine > Institute of Anatomy > Functional Anatomy

UniBE Contributor:

Flück, Martin






Company of Biologists




Factscience Import

Date Deposited:

04 Oct 2013 14:46

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 14:14

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URI: (FactScience: 1211)

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