The Effects of Acute Passive Stretch on Muscle Protein Synthesis in Humans
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We examined the effect of an isolated bout of maximal tolerated passive stretch on fractional muscle protein synthetic rate in human soleus muscle. Eight healthy males performed two separate trials with the same leg: one session of passive stretch and one of intermittent active isometric contraction at a force equivalent to that which occurred during the passive stretch trial. This force was approximately 40% of maximum voluntary contraction force and produced volitional fatigue in approximately 27 min. Intermittent passive stretch, for the same duration, elicited a 6.1 degrees increase in joint angle (P<.0005) with silent electromyography. Fractional protein synthetic rate from experimental and control soleus in each trial was assessed from biopsy samples over the period 10-22 hr postexercise by the incorporation rate of L-[1-13C] leucine into muscle. Protein synthesis was elevated in the soleus of the exercised leg following the active contraction trial by 49% (P<.05) but not following the passive stretch trial. Results indicate that a single bout of maximal passive stretch does not significantly elevate fractional muscle protein synthetic rate in humans and thus suggests that muscle stretch per se is not the stimulus for the muscle hypertrophy that occurs with resistance training.
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