Human Performance Lab

Aging & Exercise

Single Muscle Fiber Function with Aging and Exercise

The main focus of this research is to gain a better understanding of the alterations in skeletal muscle with aging and resistance training.  We have found that older men and women do respond in a positive manner at the cell level to resistance training.  However, the cellular adaptations are different compared to young individuals that are subjected to the same exercise stress.  We have also expanded this area into examining the aerobic exercise responses and the effect this different exercise stimulus might have at the cellular level in reversing sarcopenia in older women and men.

 

Regulation of Exercise Adaptations by Cyclooxygenase

The enzyme cyclooxygenase appears to play a major role in the regulation of skeletal muscle and tendon adaptations to exercise.  Common over-the-counter drugs like Acetaminophen (Tylenol) and Ibuprofen (Advil) block this enzyme and alter the short-term responses and chronic adaptations to exercise.  This research has two important implications: 1) Understanding how drugs consumed by millions of people around the world daily, many of them older individuals, may interfere with or enhance the body’s adaptations to exercise, and 2) Expanding our understanding on the cellular regulation of how the body adapts to exercise. For further information click here.

 

Muscle Genetics and Aging

This area of research is aimed at understanding the genetic triggers that regulate muscle growth and atrophy in aging muscle.  In particular, we are interested in the gene expression of key biomarkers at rest and in response to acute and chronic exercise.  This evolving area of research has resulted in several publications and continues to add insight into the molecular regulation of muscle adaptation.  In addition to our targeted gene approach, we have recently completed studies examining the entire human genome in response to acute and chronic exercise training in the young and old.  We have defined a new method to complete these genome-wide analyses on isolated human muscle fibers, allowing for a muscle fiber-type specific approach to genetic studies in human muscle adaptation.