The development of insulin resistance and anabolic resistance during muscle disuse: what is the role of fuel integration?


  • Dr Marlou Dirks

    University of Exeter

Project summary

Short periods of muscle disuse, which occur during hospitalisation or limb immobilisation, lead to rapid muscle loss. The cause is currently unknown, but the way muscles use food energy may be crucial.

I will investigate how the availability of different types of food in the muscle, such as carbohydrates, fat and protein, affects the development of muscle loss due to disuse. Healthy volunteers aged 18–40 years will undergo two days of forearm immobilisation in a cast, during which drugs and diet will be used to alter the availability of food to the muscle under well-controlled laboratory conditions. I will take blood and muscle samples from the forearm to measure how the changes to foodstuff availability affect muscle loss and associated cellular pathways.

This study will help us gain important insights into the roles of muscle disuse and nutrition in muscle health which can be used to develop targeted interventions to preserve muscle mass and health during periods of disuse.