Effects of creatine supplementation on housekeeping genes in human skeletal muscle using real-time RT-PCR Academic Article uri icon


  • The present study examined the validity and reliability of measuring the expression of various genes in human skeletal muscle using quantitative real-time RT-PCR on a GeneAmp 5700 sequence detection system with SYBR Green 1 chemistry. In addition, the validity of using some of these genes as endogenous controls (i.e., housekeeping genes) when human skeletal muscle was exposed to elevated total creatine levels and exercise was also examined. For all except 28S, linear relationships between the logarithm of the starting RNA concentrations and the cycle threshold (CT) values were established for β-actin, β2-microglobulin (β2M), cyclophilin (CYC), and glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GAPDH). We found a linear response between CT values and the logarithm of a given amount of starting cDNA for all the genes tested. The overall intra-assay coefficient of variance for these genes was 1.3% and 21% for raw CT values and the linear value of 2−CT, respectively. Interassay variability was 2.3% for raw CT values and 34% for the linear value of 2−CT. We also examined the expression of various housekeeping genes in human skeletal muscle at days 0, 1, and 5 following oral supplementation with either creatine or a placebo employing a double-blind crossover study design. Treatments were separated by a 5-wk washout period. Immediately following each muscle sampling, subjects performed two 30-s all-out bouts on a cycle ergometer. Creatine supplementation increased ( P < 0.05) muscle total creatine content above placebo levels; however, there were no changes ( P > 0.05) in CT values across the supplementation periods for any of the genes. Nevertheless, 95% confidence intervals showed that GAPDH was variable, whereas β-actin, β2M, and CYC were the least varying genes. Normalization of the data to these housekeeping genes revealed variable behavior for β2M with more stable expressions for both β-actin and CYC. We conclude that, using real-time RT-PCR, β-actin or CYC may be used as housekeeping genes to study gene expression in human muscle in experiments employing short-term creatine supplementation combined with high-intensity exercise.


  • Murphy, RM
  • Watt, KKO
  • Cameron-Smith, D
  • Gibbons, CJ
  • Snow, RJ

publication date

  • January 15, 2003

has subject area