Effects of acute aerobic and concurrent exercise on skeletal muscle metabolic enzymes in untrained men

  • Jessica S. Solfest
  • Yaohui Nie
  • Jessica A. Weiss
  • Ron T. Garner
  • Shihuan Kuang
  • Julianne Stout
  • Timothy P. GavinEmail author
Original Article



Acute exercise can increase skeletal muscle citrate synthase (CS) enzyme activity and resting skeletal muscle mitochondrial enzyme activity has been linked to maximal oxygen consumption (\(\dot {V}{{\text{O}}_{2\hbox{max} }}\)). We investigated: (1) if acute aerobic exercise (AEx) increases muscle metabolic enzyme activities other than CS; (2) if the addition of acute resistance exercise (REx) enhances the response to AEx (A + REx); and (3) if post-exercise muscle metabolic enzyme activity was related to \(\dot {V}{{\text{O}}_{2\hbox{max} }}\).


Twelve young, sedentary men completed 45 min of two-legged cycle ergometry at 55% of \(\dot {V}{{\text{O}}_{2\hbox{max} }}\) and 3 sets of 8–12 repetitions of one-leg knee extensor at 55% of 1 repetition maximum (1-RM). Vastus lateralis biopsies were taken prior to and 1 h post AEx and A + REx for the measurement of phosphofructokinase (PFK), 3-l-hydroxyacyl CoA dehydrogenase (β-HAD), succinate dehydrogenase (SDH) and CS.


As a group, there was no effect of acute AEx or A + REx on muscle PFK, β-HAD, CS, and SDH activities. Post exercise muscle PFK, β-HAD, CS, and SDH activities were related to higher \(\dot {V}{{\text{O}}_{2\hbox{max} }}\) (r = 0.62–0.74). With participants grouped by \(\dot {V}{{\text{O}}_{2\hbox{max} }}\) (LOW, < 30th %; NORM, > 50th %), acute exercise-induced changes in muscle PFK, β-HAD, CS, and SDH were greater in NORM compared to LOW.


These findings suggest acute exercise muscle metabolic enzyme activities are predictive of \(\dot {V}{{\text{O}}_{2\hbox{max} }}\) and possibly supportive of higher \(\dot {V}{{\text{O}}_{2\hbox{max} }}\). Also, low \(\dot {V}{{\text{O}}_{2\hbox{max} }}\) (below 30th percentile) appears to impair skeletal muscle metabolic enzyme responses to acute exercise.


Aerobic exercise capacity Metabolic enzyme activity Acute exercise Skeletal muscle 



Aerobic exercise

A + REx

Aerobic + resistance exercise


3-l-Hydroxyacyl CoA dehydrogenase


Body mass index


Citrate synthase


Fasting plasma glucose


High density lipoprotein


Homeostasis model assessment-β cell function


Homeostasis model assessment-insulin resistance


Maximal knee extensor strength


Low-density lipoprotein




Prior to exercise


Succinate dehydrogenase


Total cholesterol

\(\dot {V}{{\text{O}}_{2\hbox{max} }}\)

Maximal oxygen consumption



The authors wish to thank Bruno Roseguini, Mandi Kulbersh, and Alanna Fennimore for their assistance and the volunteers who took part in the study. This research project was supported by intramural funds from Purdue University.

Author contributions

YN and JSS assisted with data collection, data analysis, contributed to the discussion, and wrote/edited the manuscript. JAW, RTG, SK, and JS assisted with data collection and analysis. TPG designed the experiment, assisted with data collection and data analysis, contributed to the discussion, and wrote/edited the manuscript. TPG is the guarantor of this work, and as such, takes responsibility for the integrity of the data and accuracy of the data analysis.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

TPG is on the Advisory Board for Sport Sciences for Health. YN, JSS, JAW, RTG, SK, JS, and TPG report no potential conflicts of interest relevant to this article.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the University Institutional Review Board and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Italia S.r.l., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Health and Kinesiology and Max E. Wastl Human Performance LaboratoryPurdue UniversityWest LafayetteUSA
  2. 2.Department of Animal SciencesPurdue UniversityWest LafayetteUSA
  3. 3.Indiana University School of Medicine-West LafayetteWest LafayetteUSA
  4. 4.Purdue UniversityWest LafayetteUSA

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