Metformin alters skeletal muscle transcriptome adaptations to resistance training in older adults

Ameya S. Kulkarni, Bailey D. Peck, R. Grace Walton, Philip A. Kern, Jessica C. Mar, Samuel T. Windham, Marcas M. Bamman, Nir Barzilai, Charlotte A. Peterson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Evidence from clinical trials and observational studies suggests that both progressive resistance exercise training (PRT) and metformin delay a variety of age-related morbidities. Previously, we completed a clinical trial testing the effects of 14 weeks of PRT + metformin (metPRT) compared to PRT with placebo (plaPRT) on muscle hypertrophy in older adults. We found that metformin blunted PRT-induced muscle hypertrophic response. To understand potential mechanisms underlying the inhibitory effect of metformin on PRT, we analyzed the muscle transcriptome in 23 metPRT and 24 plaPRT participants. PRT significantly increased expression of genes involved in extracellular matrix remodeling pathways, and downregulated RNA processing pathways in both groups, however, metformin attenuated the number of differentially expressed genes within these pathways compared to plaPRT. Pathway analysis showed that genes unique to metPRT modulated aging-relevant pathways, such as cellular senescence and autophagy. Differentially expressed genes from baseline biopsies in older adults compared to resting muscle from young volunteers were reduced following PRT in plaPRT and were further reduced in metPRT. We suggest that although metformin may blunt pathways induced by PRT to promote muscle hypertrophy, adjunctive metformin during PRT may have beneficial effects on aging-associated pathways in muscle from older adults.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)19852-19866
Number of pages15
Issue number20
StatePublished - Oct 18 2020


  • aging
  • exercise-drug interaction
  • gene expression
  • metformin
  • strength training

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aging
  • Cell Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'Metformin alters skeletal muscle transcriptome adaptations to resistance training in older adults'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this