Mahurin Honors College Capstone Experience/Thesis Projects



Additional Departmental Affiliation

Kinesiology, Recreation, and Sport

Document Type



The skeletal muscle of obese individuals exhibits a depressed ability to metabolize fats. Exercise training is thought to rescue this dampened ability to metabolize fats; mediated by a coordinated increase in the expression of a network of genes that regulate metabolism and fuel utilization. The purpose of this study is to determine the exercise-induced regulation of metabolically important genes in lean and obese individuals. Muscle biopsies (one pre-exercise/baseline and one immediately post-exercise) were obtained from 4 lean (BF% 24.4 ± 5.5; 23.5 yrs ± 1.9) and 13 obese (BF% 39.7 ± 2.4; 26.1 yrs ± 2.3), age-matched, relatively young subjects, free from overt disease, non-smokers, and not taking medications known to alter metabolism. RNA was isolated, quantified, reverse transcribed into cDNA, and evaluated using RT-PCR. The pre-exercise mRNA content of pyruvate dehydrogenase kinase 4 (PDK4) was significantly higher in the obese compared to the lean (P=0.04) and the mRNA content of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor alpha (PPARα) was significantly lower (P=0.03). There were no differences in the mRNA content post-exercise. This suggests exercise tends to improve the expression of important metabolic genes in the skeletal muscle of the obese.

Advisor(s) or Committee Chair

Dr. Jill Maples


Biology | Exercise Science | Sports Sciences