Reduced ribosomal protein S6 phosphorylation after progressive resistance exercise in growing adolescent rats

Nathan J. Hellyer, Jessica J. Nokleby, Bethany M. Thicke, Wen Zhi Zhan, Gary C. Sieck, Carlos B. Mantilla

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


The purpose of this study was to investigate moderate intensity progressive resistance exercise (PRE) in growing adolescent rats and its effect on muscle hypertrophy (defined as an increase in fiber cross-sectional area [CSA]). We hypothesized that in adolescent animals moderate intensity PRE would increase (a) fiber CSA; (b) myosin heavy chain (MyHC) content; and (c) expression and phosphorylation of cell signaling molecules involved in translational regulation, compared with that in agematched sedentary (SED) controls. In the PRE group, 3-weekold male rats were trained to climb a vertical ladder as a mode of PRE training such that by 10 weeks all animals in the PRE group had progressed to carry an additional 80% of their body weight per climb. In agreement with our hypotheses, we observed that 10 weeks of moderate PRE in adolescent animals was sufficient to increase the CSA of muscle fibers and increase MyHC content. The average muscle fiber CSA increased by .10%, and the total MyHC content increased by 35% (p < 0.05) in the PRE group compared with that in the SED animals. Concurrently, we investigated sustained changes in the expression and phosphorylation of key signaling molecules that are previously identified regulators of hypertrophy in adult animal models. Contrary to our hypotheses, expression and phosphorylation of the translational regulators mammalian target of rapamycin and Akt were not increased in the PRE group. In addition, we observed that the ratio of phosphorylated-to-unphosphorylated ribosomal protein S6 (rpS6) was reduced over sixfold in PRE animals (p < 0.05) and that total rpS6 protein levels were unchanged between PRE and SED animals (p > 0.05). We conclude that moderate intensity PRE is sufficient to induce muscle hypertrophy in adolescent animals, whereas the signaling mechanisms associated with muscle hypertrophy may differ between growing adolescents and adults.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1657-1666
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Strength and Conditioning Research
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2012


  • Growth
  • Hypertrophy
  • Strength training
  • Youth
  • mTOR

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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