Acute and long-term exercise adaptation of adipose tissue and skeletal muscle in humans: a matched transcriptomics approach after 8-week training-intervention

Simon I. Dreher, Martin Irmler, Olga Pivovarova-Ramich, Katharina Kessler, Karsten Jürchott, Carsten Sticht, Louise Fritsche, Patrick Schneeweiss, Jürgen Machann, Andreas F.H. Pfeiffer, Martin Hrabě de Angelis, Johannes Beckers, Andreas L. Birkenfeld, Andreas Peter, Andreas M. Niess, Cora Weigert, Anja Moller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Background: Exercise exerts many health benefits by directly inducing molecular alterations in physically utilized skeletal muscle. Molecular adaptations of subcutaneous adipose tissue (SCAT) might also contribute to the prevention of metabolic diseases. Aim: To characterize the response of human SCAT based on changes in transcripts and mitochondrial respiration to acute and repeated bouts of exercise in comparison to skeletal muscle. Methods: Sedentary participants (27 ± 4 yrs) with overweight or obesity underwent 8-week supervised endurance exercise 3×1h/week at 80% VO2peak. Before, 60 min after the first and last exercise bout and 5 days post intervention, biopsies were taken for transcriptomic analyses and high-resolution respirometry (n = 14, 8 female/6 male). Results: In SCAT, we found 37 acutely regulated transcripts (FC > 1.2, FDR < 10%) after the first exercise bout compared to 394, respectively, in skeletal muscle. Regulation of only 5 transcripts overlapped between tissues highlighting their differential response. Upstream and enrichment analyses revealed reduced transcripts of lipid uptake, storage and lipogenesis directly after exercise in SCAT and point to β-adrenergic regulation as potential major driver. The data also suggest an exercise-induced modulation of the circadian clock in SCAT. Neither term was associated with transcriptomic changes in skeletal muscle. No evidence for beigeing/browning was found in SCAT along with unchanged respiration. Conclusions: Adipose tissue responds completely distinct from adaptations of skeletal muscle to exercise. The acute and repeated reduction in transcripts of lipid storage and lipogenesis, interconnected with a modulated circadian rhythm, can counteract metabolic syndrome progression toward diabetes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)313-324
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Obesity
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2023


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