Local muscle cooling does not impact expression of mitochondrial-related genes

Robert Shute, Matthew Heesch, Terence Laursen, Dustin Slivka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Recovery that takes place in a cold environment after endurance exercise elevates PGC-1α mRNA whereas ERRα and NRF2 mRNA expression are inhibited. However, the effect of local skeletal muscle cooling on mitochondrial-related gene expression is unknown. Purpose To determine the impact of local skeletal muscle cooling during recovery from an acute bout of exercise on mitochondrial-related gene expression. Methods Recreationally-trained male cyclists (n=8, age 25±3 y, height 181±6 cm, weight 79±8 kg, 12.8±3.6% body fat, VO2peak 4.52±0.88 L·min−1 protocol) completed a 90-min variable intensity cycling protocol followed by 4 h of recovery. During recovery, ice was applied intermittently to one leg (ICE) while the other leg served as a control (CON). Intramuscular temperature was recorded continuously. Muscle biopsies were taken from each vastus lateralis at 4 h post-exercise for the analysis of mitochondrial-related gene expression. Results Intramuscular temperature was colder in ICE (26.7±1.1 °C) than CON (35.5±0.1 °C) throughout the 4 h recovery period (p<0.001). There were no differences in expression of PGC-1α, TFAM, NRF1, NRF2, or ERRα mRNA between ICE and CON after the 4 h recovery period. Conclusion Local muscle cooling after exercise does not impact the expression of mitochondrial biogenesis-related genes compared to recovery from exercise in control conditions. When these data are considered with previous research, the stimuli for cold-induced gene expression alterations may be related to factors other than local muscle temperature. Additionally, different intramuscular temperatures should be examined to determine dose-response of mitochondrial-related gene expression.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)35-39
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Thermal Biology
StatePublished - Jul 1 2017


  • Exercise
  • Ice
  • PGC-1alpha
  • Vastus Lateralis


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