Progressive muscle loss with aging results in decreased physical function, frailty, and impaired metabolic health. Deficits in anabolic signaling contribute to an impaired ability for aged skeletal muscle to adapt in response to exercise and protein feeding. One potential contributing mechanism could be exerted by dysregulation of microRNAs (miRNAs). Therefore, the aim of this study was to determine if graded protein doses consumed after resistance exercise altered muscle miRNA expression in elderly men. Twenty-three senior men (67.9 ± 0.9 years) performed a bout of resistance exercise and were randomized to consume either a placebo, 20 or 40 g of whey protein (n = 8, n = 7, and n = 8, respectively). Vastus lateralis biopsies were collected before, 2 and 4 h after exercise. Expression of 19 miRNAs, previously identified to influence muscle phenotype, were measured via RT-PCR. Of these, miR-16-5p was altered with exercise in all groups (p = 0.032). Expression of miR-15a and-499a increased only in the placebo group 4 h after exercise and miR-451a expression increased following exercise only in the 40 g whey supplementation group. Changes in p-P70S6KThr389 and p-AktSer473 following exercise were correlated with alterations in miR-208a and-499a and-206 expression, irrespective of protein dose, suggesting a possible role for miRNA in the regulation of acute phosphorylation events during early hours of exercise recovery.

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Published in Frontiers in Nutrition, v. 6, article 91, p. 1-10.

Copyright © 2019 D'Souza, Zeng, Markworth, Figueiredo, Hedges, Petersen, Della Gatta, Cameron-Smith and Mitchell.

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

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This study was funded by The National Dairy Council/DMI (Australia), Deakin University and the Liggins Institute.