Muscle and exercise physiology laboratory
Our research focuses on issues related to how human skeletal muscle adapts to increased or decreased use.
More specifically, studies in our group are conducted to examine functional, metabolic, morphological, molecular and neural adaptations to acute and chronic exercise - that is aerobic and resistance training and short- or long-term muscle disuse (for example bed rest, spaceflight or unilateral lower limb unloading) or aging.
Research in our laboratory
Our laboratory investigates responses - such as in-vivo force-velocity characteristics, fatigability, cardiovascular, gene expression, protein synthesis and muscle use - to acute exercise using e.g. different types of muscle actions. To explore long-term adaptations to various exercise modes, studies employ trained athletes and non-trained populations and report on e.g. global muscle size, fiber type specific profiles of skeletal muscle and muscle function. Also, longitudinal studies - training over several months - compare the efficacy of different exercise paradigms.
Our research group has been instrumental in introducing a human spaceflight analog; the unilateral unloading model that is now established worldwide. We have also been successful in designing a resistance exercise apparatus that is non-gravity dependent, and has proven high efficacy to offset adverse effects of unloading, including muscle atrophy, bone loss and contractile and metabolic dysfunction, associated with spaceflight. Sponsored by national (SNSB) and international (e.g. NASA, ESA) space organizations, this technology has been installed on the International Space Station. Other configurations are now used by elite athletes, and in sports medicine and rehabilitation settings, around the globe.
Astronaut exercise prescriptions promoting health and fitness on earth (Afit)
Currently this exercise technology is the focus of a European multi-national research project coordinated by us. Projects shared across partners employ different exercise modalities for clinical applications, and applied or more mechanistic questions related to skeletal muscle adaptations to disuse and resistance exercise.
Ongoing research also explores skeletal muscle, cardiovascular and health benefits of life-long exercise, in this case octogenarian cross-country skiers.
A series of experiments are dedicated to study the potential interference of aerobic exercise on skeletal muscle adaptations to resistance exercise training.
A multidisciplinary project directed by our laboratory will investigate the effects of resistance exercise on skeletal muscle and cognitive function in stroke patients.
The publication list from our research group reflects our range of activities in recent years - from applied sports specific physiology, rehabilitation exercise programming, space physiology to studies addressing more fundamental questions related to how skeletal muscle size is regulated.
A variety of techniques are employed in the laboratory. They include e.g. magnetic resonance imaging to assess changes in muscle volume in response to increased or decreased use, or muscle use by means of functional imaging; the biopsy technique and associated assays and methods to study e.g. protein metabolism and molecular markers of atrophy and hypertrophy, phenotypes and gene expression; the flywheel technique and conventional technology for resistance training; different methods and dynamometers assessing in-vivo muscle function; and electromyography employed in studies of both biomechanics and fatigue.
- Ball State University (USA)
- Östersund Rehabcenter (Sweden)
- Taulí University Hospital (Spain)
- University of Barcelona (Spain)
- University of California Irvine (USA)
- University of Copenhagen (Denmark)
- University of Umeå (Sweden)
- University of Verona (Italy)
- IBIMOED, University of León (Spain)
- Texas A&M University (USA)
- European Space Agency (ESA)
- National Space Biomedical Research (NSBRI)
- Swedish National Space Board (SNSB)
- Swedish National Center for Research in Sports (site in Swedish)