Rapamycin does not affect post-absorptive protein metabolism in human skeletal muscle

Jared M. Dickinson, Micah J. Drummond, Christopher S. Fry, David M. Gundermann, Dillon K. Walker, Kyle L. Timmerman, Elena Volpi, Blake B. Rasmussen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Administration of the mTORC1 inhibitor, rapamycin, to humans blocks the increase in skeletal muscle protein synthesis in response to resistance exercise or amino acid ingestion. Objective: To determine whether rapamycin administration influences basal post-absorptive protein synthesis or breakdown in human skeletal muscle. Materials/Methods: Six young (26 ± 2 years) subjects were studied during two separate trials, in which each trial was divided into two consecutive 2 h basal periods. The trials were identical except during one trial a single oral dose (16 mg) of rapamycin was administered immediately prior to the second basal period. Muscle biopsies were obtained from the vastus lateralis at 0, 2, and 4 h to examine protein synthesis, mTORC1 signaling, and markers of autophagy (LC3B-I and LC3B-II protein) associated with each 2 h basal period. Results: During the Control trial, muscle protein synthesis, whole body protein breakdown (phenylalanine Ra), mTORC1 signaling, and markers of autophagy were similar between both basal periods (p > 0.05). During the Rapamycin trial, these variables were similar to the Control trial (p > 0.05) and were unaltered by rapamycin administration (p > 0.05). Thus, post-absorptive muscle protein metabolism and mTORC1 signaling were not affected by rapamycin administration. Conclusions: Short-term rapamycin administration may only impair protein synthesis in human skeletal muscle when combined with a stimulus such as resistance exercise or increased amino acid availability.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)144-151
Number of pages8
JournalMetabolism: Clinical and Experimental
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2013

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
NIH/National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases grant R01 AR049877 ; NIH/National Institute on Aging P30 AG024832 ; NIH T32-HD07539 ; 1UL1RR029876 from the NIH/National Center for Research Resources ; and H133P110012 from NIDRR/National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research .


  • Autophagy
  • FSR
  • mTOR

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology


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