Hargreaves laboratory: Exercise physiology

Research Overview

The research interests of the Exercise Physiology Lab focus on the physiological and metabolic responses to acute and chronic exercise, with a particular focus on carbohydrate metabolism during exercise in health and disease.  Our major project is on how exercise regulates the skeletal muscle expression of the glucose transporter GLUT4.  This protein is critical for skeletal muscle glucose uptake during exercise and following insulin stimulation associated with food (carbohydrate) intake.  Our work is relevant for both athletic performance and for the management of metabolic diseases, such as diabetes, using exercise.

scheme showing molecular signalling in contraction-induced GLUT4 gene activation

We were the first to show that a single bout of exercise increased GLUT4 gene expression in human skeletal muscle.  Over the years we have dissected the molecular bases of this response and our current understanding is summarized in the figure above.  In recent years, we have turned our attention to exercise regulation of adipose tissue GLUT4 expression.


Marcelo Flores-Opazo, PhD Student

Research Publications

  1. McGee SL, Hargreaves M. Exercise and skeletal muscle glucose transporter 4 expression: molecular mechanisms. Clin Exp Pharmacol Physiol 2006; 33: 395-399.
  2. Hussey SE, McGee SL, Garnham A, Wentworth JM, Jeukendrup AE, Hargreaves M. Exercise training increases adipose tissue GLUT4 expression in patients with type 2 diabetes. Diab Obes Metab 2011; 13: 959-962.
  3. McGee SL, Hargreaves M. Histone modifications and exercise adaptations. J Appl Physiol 2011; 110: 258-263.
  4. Hussey SE, McGee SL, Garnham A, McConell GK, Hargreaves M. Exercise increases skeletal muscle GLUT4 gene expression in patients with type 2 diabetes. Diab Obes Metab 2012; 14: 768-771.
  5. Richter EA, Hargreaves M. Exercise, GLUT4 and skeletal muscle glucose uptake. Physiol Reviews 2013; 93: 993-1017.
  6. Hawley JA, Hargreaves M, Joyner MJ, Zierath JR. Integrative biology of exercise. Cell 2014; 159: 738-749.

Research Projects

This Research Group doesn't currently have any projects

Faculty Research Themes

Infection and Immunology

School Research Themes

Cardio-Respiratory, Infection & Immunity, Molecular Mechanisms of Disease

Key Contact

For further information about this research, please contact Head of Laboratory Professor Mark Hargreaves

Department / Centre


Unit / Centre

Hargreaves laboratory: Exercise physiology

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