Single-fiber expression and fiber-specific adaptability to short-term intense exercise training of Na+-K+-ATPase alpha- and beta-isoforms in human skeletal muscle Academic Article uri icon


  • The Na+-K+-ATPase (NKA) plays a key role in muscle excitability, but little is known in human skeletal muscle about fiber-type-specific differences in NKA isoform expression or adaptability. A vastus lateralis muscle biopsy was taken in 17 healthy young adults to contrast NKA isoform protein relative abundance between type I and IIa fibers. We further investigated muscle fiber-type-specific NKA adaptability in eight of these adults following 4-wk repeated-sprint exercise (RSE) training, comprising three sets of 5 × 4-s sprints, 3 days/wk. Single fibers were separated, and myosin heavy chain (I and IIa) and NKA (α1–3 and β1–3) isoform abundance were determined via Western blotting. All six NKA isoforms were expressed in both type I and IIa fibers. No differences between fiber types were found for α1-, α2-, α3-, β1-, or β3-isoform abundances. The NKA β2-isoform was 27% more abundant in type IIa than type I fibers ( P < 0.05), with no other fiber-type-specific trends evident. RSE training increased β1 in type IIa fibers (pretraining 0.70 ± 0.25, posttraining 0.84 ± 0.24 arbitrary units, 42%, P < 0.05). No training effects were found for other NKA isoforms. Thus human skeletal muscle expresses all six NKA isoforms and not in a fiber-type-specific manner; this points to their different functional roles in skeletal muscle cells. Detection of elevated NKA β1 after RSE training demonstrates the sensitivity of the single-fiber Western blotting technique for fiber-type-specific intervention effects.

publication date

  • 2015