Power training and postmenopausal hormone therapy affect transcriptional control of specific co-regulated gene clusters in skeletal muscle
At the moment, there is no clear molecular explanation for the steeper decline in muscle performance after menopause or the mechanisms of counteractive treatments. The goal of this genome-wide study was to identify the genes and gene clusters through which power training (PT) comprising jumping activities or estrogen containing hormone replacement therapy (HRT) may affect skeletal muscle properties after menopause. We used musculus vastus lateralis samples from early stage postmenopausal (50-57 years old) women participating in a yearlong randomized double-blind placebo-controlled trial with PT and HRT interventions. Using microarray platform with over 24,000 probes, we identified 665 differentially expressed genes. The hierarchical clustering method was used to assort the genes. Additionally, enrichment analysis of gene ontology (GO) terms and Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) pathways was carried out to clarify whether assorted gene clusters are enriched with particular functional categories. The analysis revealed transcriptional regulation of 49 GO/KEGG categories. PT upregulated transcription in "response to contraction"-category revealing novel candidate genes for contraction-related regulation of muscle function while HRT upregulated gene expression related to functionality of mitochondria. Moreover, several functional categories tightly related to muscle energy metabolism, development, and function were affected regardless of the treatment. Our results emphasize that during the early stages of the postmenopause, muscle properties are under transcriptional modulation, which both PT and HRT partially counteract leading to preservation of muscle power and potentially reducing the risk for aging-related muscle weakness. More specifically, PT and HRT may function through improving energy metabolism, response to contraction as well as by preserving functionality of the mitochondria. 2010 American Aging Association, Media.