Muscle protein breakdown is impaired during immobilization compared to during a subsequent retraining period in older men: no effect of anti-inflammatory medication

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


  • K Dideriksen
  • S Reitelseder
  • J Agergaard
  • A P Boesen
  • S N Aas
  • T Raastad

Colleges, School and Institutes

External organisations

  • Institute of Sports Medicine Copenhagen, Department of Orthopedic Surgery M, Bispebjerg Hospital and Center for Healthy Aging, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Bispebjerg Bakke 23, building 8, 1st floor, 2400, Copenhagen NV, Denmark.
  • Department of Biomedical Sciences, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark.
  • Department of Physical Performance, Norwegian School of Sport Sciences, Oslo, Norway.


Muscle inactivity reduces muscle protein synthesis (MPS), whereas a subsequent period of rehabilitation resistance training (retraining) increases MPS. However, less is known regarding muscle protein breakdown (MPB) during such conditions. Furthermore, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may have a dampening effect on MPB during periods of inactivity in older individuals. Thus, we measured the average MPB, by use of the deuterated water methodology, during an immobilization period and a subsequent retraining period in older individuals with and without NSAID treatment. Eighteen men (60-80 years: range) were randomly assigned to ibuprofen (1200 mg/d, Ibu) or placebo (Plc). One lower limb was immobilized in a cast for 2 weeks and retrained for 2 weeks, and 2 × 20 g of whey protein was ingested daily during both periods. Besides MPB, the protein expression of different muscle degradation signaling molecules was investigated. MPB was lower during immobilization compared to retraining (p < 0.01). NSAID treatment did not affect the MPB rate during immobilization or retraining (p > 0.05). The protein expression of muscle degradation signaling molecules changed during the study intervention but were unaffected by NSAID treatment. The finding that MPB was lower during immobilization than during retraining indicates that an increased MPB may play an important role in the muscle protein remodeling processes taking place within the initial retraining period. Moreover, NSAID treatment did not significantly influence the MPB rate during 2 weeks of lower limb immobilization or during 2 weeks of subsequent retraining in older individuals.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)281-292
Number of pages12
JournalPfluegers Archiv: European journal of physiology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 5 Feb 2020


  • Deuterated alanine, Deuterated water, Muscle degradation, Muscle disuse, Muscle recovery, NSAID