Journal of Undergraduate Research


deep tissue healing, skeletal muscle, PGC1, protein


Life Sciences


Exercise Sciences


Through this project, we aimed to determine if repeated heat stress is a viable treatment to reduce or slow muscle atrophy in human muscle subjected to disuse. Specifically, I investigated how repeated heat stress affects the expression of PGC1-a, a gene that is an upstream regulator of mitochondrial biogenesis. This protein promotes muscle growth and normally is triggered by environmental factors including the metabolic needs (energy, temperature, stress, etc.) of the muscle. If it could be increased in the muscle, it could potentially lead to the preservation of muscle strength and function in a variety of disease states. These include cancer, injury, metabolic disease, diabetes, heart problems, intolerance to exercise etc.

Based on previous research (1), we expected that PGC1-a would be decreased during muscle disuse and subsequent atrophy (muscle wasting). We also hypothesized that repeated heat treatments would attenuate these reductions and promote PGC1-a levels, thus counteracting the normal atrophy process.

Included in

Kinesiology Commons