Low pre-exercise muscle glycogen availability offsets the effect of post-exercise cold water immersion in augmenting PGC-1α gene expression

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


  • Robert Allan
  • Adam P. Sharples
  • Matthew Cocks
  • John Dutton
  • Hannah F. Dugdale
  • Chris Mawhinney
  • Angela Clucas
  • Will Hawkins
  • James P. Morton
  • Warren Gregson

Colleges, School and Institutes

External organisations

  • Liverpool John Moores University
  • University of Central Lancashire
  • Keele University
  • University of East Anglia
  • University of Oxford
  • Mahidol University


We assessed the effects of post-exercise cold-water immersion (CWI) in modulating PGC-1α mRNA expression in response to exercise commenced with low muscle glycogen availability. In a randomized repeated-measures design, nine recreationally active males completed an acute two-legged high-intensity cycling protocol (8 × 5 min at 82.5% peak power output) followed by 10 min of two-legged post-exercise CWI (8°C) or control conditions (CON). During each trial, one limb commenced exercise with low (LOW: <300 mmol·kg −1 dw) or very low (VLOW: <150 mmol·kg −1 dw) pre-exercise glycogen concentration, achieved via completion of a one-legged glycogen depletion protocol undertaken the evening prior. Exercise increased (P < 0.05) PGC-1α mRNA at 3 h post-exercise. Very low muscle glycogen attenuated the increase in PGC-1α mRNA expression compared with the LOW limbs in both the control (CON VLOW ~3.6-fold vs. CON LOW ~5.6-fold: P = 0.023, ES 1.22 Large) and CWI conditions (CWI VLOW ~2.4-fold vs. CWI LOW ~8.0 fold: P = 0.019, ES 1.43 Large). Furthermore, PGC-1α mRNA expression in the CWI-LOW trial was not significantly different to the CON LOW limb (P = 0.281, ES 0.67 Moderate). Data demonstrate that the previously reported effects of post-exercise CWI on PGC-1α mRNA expression (as regulated systemically via β-adrenergic mediated cell signaling) are offset in those conditions in which local stressors (i.e., high-intensity exercise and low muscle glycogen availability) have already sufficiently activated the AMPK-PGC-1α signaling axis. Additionally, data suggest that commencing exercise with very low muscle glycogen availability attenuates PGC-1α signaling.


Original languageEnglish
Article numbere14082
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalPhysiological reports
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jun 2019


  • carbohydrate, cooling, skeletal muscle, training adaptation

ASJC Scopus subject areas