New article on the effects of exercise training on the clock

The article from our former colleague Jan-Frieder Harmsen is now online available and in The Journal of Physiology with the following title: “Exercise training modifies skeletal muscle clock gene expression but not 24-hour rhythmicity in substrate metabolism of men with insulin resistance”. The full article can be found here: Read the abstract below.


Twenty-four hour rhythmicity in whole-body substrate metabolism, skeletal muscle clock gene expression and mitochondrial respiration is compromised upon insulin resistance. With exercise training known to ameliorate insulin resistance, our objective was to test if exercise training can reinforce diurnal variation in whole-body and skeletal muscle metabolism in men with insulin resistance. In a single-arm longitudinal design, 10 overweight and obese men with insulin resistance performed 12 weeks of high-intensity interval training recurrently in the afternoon (between 14.00 and 18.00 h) and were tested pre- and post-exercise training, while staying in a metabolic research unit for 2 days under free-living conditions with regular meals. On the second days, indirect calorimetry was performed at 08.00, 13.00, 18.00, 23.00 and 04.00 h, muscle biopsies were taken from the vastus lateralis at 08.30, 13.30 and 23.30 h, and blood was drawn at least bi-hourly over 24 h. Participants did not lose body weight over 12 weeks, but improved body composition and exercise capacity. Exercise training resulted in reduced 24-h plasma glucose levels, but did not modify free fatty acid and triacylglycerol levels. Diurnal variation of muscle clock gene expression was modified by exercise training with period genes showing an interaction (time × exercise) effect and reduced mRNA levels at 13.00 h. Exercise training increased mitochondrial respiration without inducing diurnal variation. Twenty-four-hour substrate metabolism and energy expenditure remained unchanged. Future studies should investigate alternative exercise strategies or types of interventions (e.g. diet or drugs aiming at improving insulin sensitivity) for their capacity to reinforce diurnal variation in substrate metabolism and mitochondrial respiration.