Skeletal muscle nNOSμ protein content is increased by exercise training in humans Academic Article uri icon


  • The major isoform of nitric oxide synthase (NOS) in skeletal muscle is the splice variant of neuronal NOS, termed nNOSμ. Exercise training increases nNOSμ protein levels in rat skeletal muscle, but data in humans are conflicting. We performed two studies to determine 1) whether resting nNOSμ protein expression is greater in skeletal muscle of 10 endurance-trained athletes compared with 11 sedentary individuals ( study 1) and 2) whether intense short-term (10 days) exercise training increases resting nNOSμ protein (within whole muscle and also within types I, IIa, and IIx fibers) in eight sedentary individuals ( study 2). In study 1, nNOSμ protein was ∼60% higher ( P < 0.05) in endurance-trained athletes compared with the sedentary participants. In study 2, nNOSμ protein expression was similar in types I, IIa, and IIx fibers before training. Ten days of intense exercise training significantly ( P < 0.05) increased nNOSμ protein levels in types I, IIa, and IIx fibers, a finding that was validated by using whole muscle samples. Endothelial NOS and inducible NOS protein were barely detectable in the skeletal muscle samples. In conclusion, nNOSμ protein expression is greater in endurance-trained individuals when compared with sedentary individuals. Ten days of intense exercise is also sufficient to increase nNOSμ expression in untrained individuals, due to uniform increases of nNOSμ within types I, IIa, and IIx fibers.


  • McConell, Glenn K
  • Bradley, Scott J
  • Stephens, Terry J
  • Canny, Benedict J
  • Kingwell, Bronwyn A
  • Lee-Young, Robert S

publication date

  • August 2007