Effect of leucine-protein high-carbohydrate post-exercise nutrition on subsequent performance and the protein regulated genomic and signalling events governing adaptive remodelling : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Nutritional Science, Massey University, Albany, New Zealand

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Recovery from prolonged endurance exercise requires fuel replenishment and ultrastructure repair to restore cellular homeostasis; and improvement requires adaptive remodelling. Timing nutrient intake to closely follow exercise may be advantageous to recovery and subsequent performance by facilitating the adaptive processes stimulated by exercise. The objective of this research was to firstly determine if leucine-enriched protein feeding after hard training improved subsequent performance, and secondly to explore the candidate means by which protein-rich post-exercise nutrition mediates recovery, primarily transcriptomic and signalling mechanisms. Study 1 Ten male cyclists ingested leucine-enriched protein-carbohydrate (0.1/0.4/1.2/0.2 g∙kg-1∙h-1 leucine/protein/carbohydrate/fat) or isocaloric high-carbohydrate control (0.06/1.6/0.2 g∙kg-1∙h-1) meals following 2-2.5 h high-intensity interval training on 3 consecutive days. Cyclists performed a repeat-sprint performance test 39 h after training, and markers of physiological recovery and mood state were examined. Study 2 Eight male cyclists ingested protein (0.4/1.2/0.2 g∙kg-1∙h-1 protein/carbohydrate/fat) or isocaloric high-carbohydrate control (0.03/1.6/0.2 g∙kg-1∙h-1) beverages following a single 1.75 h high-intensity interval cycling bout. Muscle tissue samples were collected from the vastus lateralis before exercise, 3-h and 48-h post-exercise. The transcriptome response was assessed by Illumina microarray, candidate gene expression by real time RT-PCR; and phospho-protein signalling by Western blot. Leucine-enriched feeding increased mean sprint power by 2.5% (99% confidence limits, ±3.1%; P = 0.013) and reduced overall tiredness during sprints by 13% (90% confidence limits, ±9.2%). Serum creatine kinase was 19% (90% confidence limits, ±18%) lower than control, but difference in lactate dehydrogenase and muscle pain were trivial and unclear. In the second study, protein-carbohydrate feeding led to moderate and very large increases in cell signalling to translation; mTOR, 4E-BP1 and RPS6 phosphorylation by 3-h. Bioinformatics analysis indicates protein ingestion effects the transcriptome response involved in immune/inflammatory processes, tissue development (extracellular matrix, cytoskeletal, and scarcomere remodelling), and metabolism consistent with increased fatty acid oxidation, compared to control. Post-exercise protein and carbohydrate coingestion during a period of hard training enhances subsequent high-intensity endurance performance and may reduce membrane disruption in comparison to high-carbohydrate feeding. Furthermore, the mechanism responsible for protein-nutrition mediated adaptation may be through enhancing protein translation and fine-tuning the gene expression profile induced by exercise.
Endurance exercise, Athlete nutrition, Protein, Carbohydrates, Exercise recovery