Skeletal muscles improve their oxidative fatty acid and glucose metabolism following endurance training, but the magnitude of response varies considerably from person to person. In 20 untrained young women we examined interindividual variability in training responses of metabolic enzymes following 6 weeks of endurance training, sufficient to increase maximal oxygen uptake by 10 ± 8% (mean ± SD). Training led to increases in mitochondrial enzymes [succinate dehydrogenase (SDH; 47 ± 78%), cytochrome c oxidase (52 ± 70%) and ATP synthase (63 ± 69%)] and proteins involved in fatty acid metabolism [3-hydroxyacyl CoA dehydrogenase (69 ± 92%) and fatty acid transporter CD36 (86 ± 31%)]. Increases in enzymes of glucose metabolism [phosphofructokinase (29 ± 94%) and glucose transporter 4 (18 ± 65%)] were not significant. There was no relationship between changes in maximal oxygen uptake and the changes in the metabolic proteins. Considerable interindividual variability was seen in the magnitude of responses. The response of each enzyme was proportional to the change in SDH; individuals with a large increase in SDH also showed high gains in all other enzymes, and vice versa. Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor γ coactivator 1α protein content increased after training, but was not correlated with changes in the metabolic proteins. In conclusion, the results revealed co-ordinated adaptation of several metabolic enzymes following endurance training, despite differences between people in the magnitude of response. Differences between individuals in the magnitude of response might reflect the influence of environmental and genetic factors that govern training adaptations.
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