The isolated effects of local cold application on proteolytic and myogenic signaling

Mark L. McGlynn, Alejandro M. Rosales, Christopher W. Collins, Dustin R. Slivka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Post-exercise cooling studies reveal inhibitory effects on markers of skeletal muscle growth. However, the isolated effect of local cold application has not been adequately addressed. It is unclear if the local cold or the combination of local cold and exercise is driving negatively altered skeletal muscle gene expression. The purpose was to determine the effects of a 4 h local cold application to the vastus lateralis on the myogenic and proteolytic response. Participants (n = 12, 27 ± 6 years, 179 ± 9 cm, 82.8 ± 13.0 kg, 18.4 ± 7.1 %BF) rested with a thermal wrap placed on each leg with either circulating cold fluid (10 °C, COLD) or no fluid circulation (room temperature, RT). Muscle samples were collected to quantify mRNA (RT-qPCR) and proteins (Western Blot) associated with myogenesis and proteolysis. Temperatures in COLD were lower than RT at the skin (13.2 ± 1.0 °C vs. 34.8 ± 0.9 °C; p < 0.001) and intramuscularly (20.5 ± 1.3 °C vs. 35.6 ± 0.8 °C, p < 0.001). Myogenic-related mRNA, MYO-G and MYO-D1, were lower in COLD (p = 0.001, p < 0.001, respectively) whereas myogenic-mRNA, MYF6, was greater in COLD (p = 0.002). No other myogenic associated genes were different between COLD and RT (MSTN, p = 0.643; MEF2a, p = 0.424; MYF5, p = 0.523; RPS3, p = 0.589; RPL3-L, p = 0.688). Proteolytic-related mRNA was higher in COLD (FOXO3a, p < 0.001; Atrogin-1, p = 0.049; MURF-1, p < 0.001). The phosphorylation:total protein ratio for the translational repressor of muscle mass, 4E-BP1Thr37/46, was lower in COLD (p = 0.043), with no differences in mTORser2448 (p = 0.509) or p70S6K1Thr389 (p = 0.579). Isolated local cooling over 4 h exhibits inhibited myogenic and higher proteolytic skeletal muscle molecular response.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104553
Pages (from-to)104553
Early online dateJun 26 2023
StatePublished - Sep 2023


  • 4E-BP1
  • Atrogin-1
  • Atrophy
  • FOXO3a
  • MYO-D1
  • MYO-G
  • Western blot
  • mRNA
  • mTOR
  • p70S6K1


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