Immobilization leads to alterations in intracellular phosphagen and creatine transporter content in human skeletal muscle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


  • Dan Luo
  • Sophie Edwards
  • James McKendry
  • Yusuke Nishimura
  • Molly Perkins
  • Andrew Philp
  • Sophie Joanisse

Colleges, School and Institutes


The role of dysregulated intracellular creatine metabolism in disuse atrophy is unknown. In this study, skeletal muscle biopsy samples were obtained after 7-days of unilateral leg immobilization (IMMOB) and the non-immobilized control limb (CTRL) of 15 healthy males (23.1 ± 3.5 yrs). Samples were analyzed for fibre-type cross-sectional area (CSA) and creatine transporter (CreaT) at the cell membrane periphery (MEM) or intracellular (INT) areas, via immunoflouresence microscopy. Creatine kinase (CK) and AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) were determined via immunoblot. PCr, Cr and ATP were measured via enzymatic analysis. Body composition and maximal isometric knee extensor strength were assessed before and after disuse. Leg strength and fat-free mass were reduced in IMMOB (~32% and 4%, respectively; P<0.01 for both). Type II fibre CSA was smaller (~12%; P=0.028) and intramuscular PCr lower (~13%; P=0.015) in IMMOB vs. CTRL. CreaT protein was greater in Type I fibres in both limbs (P<0.01). CreaT was greater in IMMOB vs. CTRL (P < 0.01) and inversely associated with PCr concentration in both limbs (P < 0.05). MEM CreaT was greater than the INT CreaT in Type I and II fibres of both limbs (~14% for both; P<0.01 for both). Type I fibre CreaT tended to be greater in IMMOB vs. CTRL (P=0.074). CK was greater, and phospho-to-total AMPKThr172 tended to be greater, in IMMOB vs. CTRL (P=0.013 and 0.051, respectively). These findings suggest that modulation of intracellular creatine metabolism is an adaptive response to immobilisation in young healthy skeletal muscle.


Original languageEnglish
JournalAJP: Cell Physiology
Early online date6 May 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 6 May 2020


  • creatine metabolism, skeletal muscle, imobilization, atrophy