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Increases in Integrin–ILK–RICTOR–Akt Proteins, muscle mass, and strength after eccentric cycling training

Mavropalias, G.ORCID: 0000-0001-7753-5693, WU, Y-F, BOPPART, M.D., Blazevich, A.J. and Nosaka, K. (2021) Increases in Integrin–ILK–RICTOR–Akt Proteins, muscle mass, and strength after eccentric cycling training. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 54 (1). pp. 89-97.

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Recently, it has been suggested that a cellular pathway composed of integrin, integrin-linked kinase (ILK), rapamycin-insensitive companion of mTOR (RICTOR), and Akt may facilitate long-term structural and functional adaptations associated with exercise, independent of the mTORC1 pathway. Therefore, we examined changes in integrin–ILK–RICTOR–Akt protein in vastus lateralis (VL) before and after 8 wk of eccentric cycling training (ECC), which was expected to increase muscle function and VL cross-sectional area (CSA).


Eleven men (23 ± 4 yr) completed 24 sessions of ECC with progressive increases in intensity and duration, resulting in a twofold increase in work from the first three (75.4 ± 14.1 kJ) to the last three sessions (150.7 ± 28.4 kJ). Outcome measures included lower limb lean mass, VL CSA, static strength, and peak and average cycling power output. These measures and VL samples were taken before and 4–5 d after the last training session.


Significant (P < 0.05) increases in integrin-β1 (1.64-fold) and RICTOR (2.99-fold) protein as well as the phosphorylated-to-total ILK ratio (1.70-fold) were found, but integrin-α7 and Akt did not change. Increases in lower limb, thigh, and trunk lean mass (2.8%–5.3%, P < 0.05) and CSA (13.3% ± 9.0%, P < 0.001) were observed. Static strength (18.1% ± 10.8%) and both peak (8.6% ± 10.5%) and average power output (7.4% ± 8.3%) also increased (P < 0.05). However, no significant correlations were found between the magnitude of increases in protein and the magnitude of increases in CSA, static strength, or power output.


In addition to increased muscle mass, strength, and power, we demonstrate that ECC increases integrin-β1 and RICTOR total protein and p-ILK/t-ILK, which may play a role in protection against muscle damage as well as anabolic signaling to induce muscle adaptations.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publisher: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins
Copyright: © 2022 by the American College of Sports Medicine
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