Lower Integrated Muscle Protein Synthesis in Masters Compared with Younger Athletes
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PURPOSE: The objective of this study is to compare the integrated muscle protein synthesis (MPS) rates of masters and younger triathletes over three consecutive days of intense endurance training. Recovery of cycling performance, after muscle-damaging running, was also compared between groups. METHODS: Five masters (age, 53 ± 2 yr; V˙O2max, 55.7 ± 6.9 mL·kg·min) and six younger (age, 27 ± 2 yr; V˙O2max, 62.3 ± 1.5 mL·kg·min) trained triathletes volunteered for the study. Baseline skeletal muscle and saliva were initially sampled, after which a 150-mL bolus of deuterium oxide (70%) was consumed. Participants then completed a 30-min downhill run; three 20-km cycling time trials (TT) were completed 10, 24, and 48 h after the run. Saliva was collected each morning, and skeletal muscle was again sampled 72 h after the run; both were used for MPS analysis. Diet was controlled throughout the study. RESULTS: Over 3 d, masters triathletes showed a significantly lower myofibrillar fractional synthetic rate (1.49% ± 0.12%·d) compared with the younger (1.70% ± 0.09%·d) triathletes (P = 0.009, d = 1.98). There was also a trend for masters triathletes to produce a slower cycle TT (-3.0%, d = 0.46) than younger triathletes (-1.4%, d = 0.29) at 10 h postrun in comparison with the baseline performance. The between-group comparison of change was moderate (d = 0.51), suggesting slower acute recovery among masters triathletes. CONCLUSIONS: The present data show lower MPS rates in well-trained masters triathletes over 3 d of training, and this likely contributes to poorer muscle protein repair and remodeling. Furthermore, acute recovery of cycle TT performance tended to be poorer in the masters triathletes.
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