Breakfast seminar: Muscle memory

The impact on athletic performance, doping legislation and life-long health



March 30


Aud. Utsikt




Watch now: see the seminar live on NIHs YouTube-channel.

In the seminar, further insights into the cellular mechanisms, how they impact regulation of muscle mass and function, and how this affects human performance and health will be further discussed.

Muscle memory describes the capacity of skeletal muscle fibers to respond differently to environmental stimuli in an adaptive (positive) or maladaptive (negative) manner if the stimuli have been previously encountered.

Within strength training muscle memory refers to the phenomenon where previously trained muscles re-gain muscle size and strength faster than naive muscles after a period of disuse. The cellular memory mechanisms seem to involve accretion of more nuclei within each muscle fiber as well as epigenetic modifications altering the access to important regulatory genes. 

Doping with anabolic steroids gives some of the same long-lasting memory effects as previous exercise and this information should impact the rules for suspension after a positive doping test.


Watch now: see the seminar live on NIHs YouTube-channel.

08:15 - 08:30 Coffee served outside Auditorium Utsikt

08:30 - 08:40 Welcome and overview of muscle memory (Truls Raastad, NIH)

08:40 - 09:00 Mechanisms for muscle memory: Evidence from animal studies and implications for doping legislations (Kristian Gundersen, UiO)

09:00 - 09:15 How DNA content influences muscle cell size during muscle growth and hypertrophy (Einar Eftestøl, UiO)

09:15 - 09:35 The epigenetics of skeletal muscle memory (Adam Sharples, NIH)

09:35 - 09:45 Is there a negative muscle memory with repeated immobilization? (Daniel Turner, NIH)

09:45 - 10:00 Questions and discussion


Truls Raastad, Ph.D.

Truls Raastad, Ph.D. is professor in exercise physiology and head of the research group called “The muscle group”, which mainly focus on muscular adaptations to training with special interest in strength training and recovery after exercise

Kristian Gundersen, Ph.D.

Kristian Gundersen, Ph.D. is Professor of Physiology at the University of Oslo, Norway, where he studies muscle plasticity. Recently his focus has been mainly on mechanisms for a cellular memory in vertebrate skeletal muscle as an explanation for long term effects of exercise and hormones.

Einar Eftestøl, Ph.D.

Einar Eftestøl, PhD, is a researcher in Kristian Gundersens lab at the University of Oslo, Norway, where he studies the dynamics of myonuclear accrual related to developmental muscle growth and testosterone use in mice where satellite cell fusion is ablated, as well as in exercising juvenile rats.

Adam P. Sharples, Ph.D.

Adam P. Sharples, Ph.D is a Professor in Molecular Physiology and Epigenetics at NIH. He investigates the underlying cellular, molecular and epigenetic mechanisms of muscle growth (hypertrophy) and wasting (atrophy) using both cell modelling and whole-body approaches. His work first demonstrated human muscle possesses an ‘epigenetic memory’ of exercise.

Daniel Turner, Ph.D.

Daniel Turner, Ph.D. is a post-doctoral research fellow in Professor Adam Sharples lab at NIH, Norway. His research involves use of in vivo (e.g. human and rodent) and in vitro (e.g. 3D bioengineered skeletal muscle) models to study the epigenetic mechanisms of skeletal muscle memory and adaptation after muscle wasting and exercise.