Skeletal muscle possesses a remarkable plasticity and responds to environmental and physiological challenges by changing its phenotype in terms of size, composition, and metabolic properties. Muscle fibers rapidly adapt to drastic changes in energy demands during exercise through fine-tuning of the balance between catabolic and anabolic processes. One major sensor of energy demand in exercising muscle is AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK). Recent advances have shed new light on the relevance of AMPK both as a multitask gatekeeper and as an energy regulator in skeletal muscle. Here we summarize recent findings on the function of AMPK in skeletal muscle adaptation to contraction and highlight its role in the regulation of energy metabolism and the control of skeletal muscle regeneration post-injury.
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