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European Journal of Applied Physiology

, Volume 116, Issue 6, pp 1245–1253 | Cite as

Epigenetic changes in leukocytes after 8 weeks of resistance exercise training

  • Joshua DenhamEmail author
  • Francine Z. Marques
  • Emma L. Bruns
  • Brendan J. O’Brien
  • Fadi J. Charchar
Original Article

Abstract

Purpose

Regular engagement in resistance exercise training elicits many health benefits including improvement to muscular strength, hypertrophy and insulin sensitivity, though the underpinning molecular mechanisms are poorly understood. The purpose of this study was to determine the influence 8 weeks of resistance exercise training has on leukocyte genome-wide DNA methylation and gene expression in healthy young men.

Methods

Eight young (21.1 ± 2.2 years) men completed one repetition maximum (1RM) testing before completing 8 weeks of supervised, thrice-weekly resistance exercise training comprising three sets of 8–12 repetitions with a load equivalent to 80 % of 1RM. Blood samples were collected at rest before and after the 8-week training intervention. Genome-wide DNA methylation and gene expression were assessed on isolated leukocyte DNA and RNA using the 450K BeadChip and HumanHT-12 v4 Expression BeadChip (Illumina), respectively.

Results

Resistance exercise training significantly improved upper and lower body strength concurrently with diverse genome-wide DNA methylation and gene expression changes (p ≤ 0. 01). DNA methylation changes occurred at multiple regions throughout the genome in context with genes and CpG islands, and in genes relating to axon guidance, diabetes and immune pathways. There were multiple genes with increased expression that were enriched for RNA processing and developmental proteins. Growth factor genes—GHRH and FGF1—showed differential methylation and mRNA expression changes after resistance training.

Conclusions

Our findings indicate that resistance exercise training improves muscular strength and is associated with reprogramming of the leukocyte DNA methylome and transcriptome.

Keywords

Epigenome Transcriptome Strength training mRNA expression DNA methylation 

Abbreviations

ANOVA

Analysis of variance

χ2

Chi squared

CpG

Cytosine neighbouring a guanine dinucleotide

DAVID

Database for Annotation, Visualization and Integrated Discovery

DNA

Deoxyribonucleic acid

DNMT

DNA methyltransferase

FGF1

Fibroblast growth factor 1

GHRH

Growth hormone-releasing hormone

INS

Insulin

IPAQ

International Physical Activity Questionnaire

MET

Metabolic equivalent of task

mRNA

Messenger RNA

NF-kB

Nuclear factor of kappa light polypeptide gene enhancer in B-cells

1RM

One repetition maximum

RET

Resistance exercise training

RNA

Ribonucleic acid

TET

Tet methylcytosine dioxygenase

Notes

Acknowledgments

We thank the Australian Genome Research Facility for the help with the arrays.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

None declared.

Funding

This work was supported by the Federation University Australia ‘Self-sustaining Regions Research Innovation Initiative’ and the Australian Government Collaborative Research Network (CRN). This work was also supported by a Federation University Australia Faculty of Health Seeding Grant obtained by B.J.O and F.Z.M. F.Z.M is supported by the National Health and Medical Research Council (APP1052659) and National Heart Foundation (PF12M6785) co-shared Early Career Fellowships. F.J.C is supported by the Lew Carty Charitable Fund and National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia.

Supplementary material

421_2016_3382_MOESM1_ESM.docx (81 kb)
ESM1 (DOCX 82 kb)

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joshua Denham
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Francine Z. Marques
    • 2
    • 3
  • Emma L. Bruns
    • 4
  • Brendan J. O’Brien
    • 4
  • Fadi J. Charchar
    • 2
  1. 1.School of Science and TechnologyUniversity of New EnglandArmidaleAustralia
  2. 2.Faculty of Science and TechnologyFederation University AustraliaMount HelenAustralia
  3. 3.Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes InstituteMelbourneAustralia
  4. 4.Faculty of HealthFederation University AustraliaMount HelenAustralia

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