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Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2003 Oct;285(4):E729-36. Epub 2003 Jun 10.

Prevention of glycogen supercompensation prolongs the increase in muscle GLUT4 after exercise.

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Department of Internal Medicine, Washington University School of Medicine, 4566 Scott Avenue, St. Louis, MO 63110, USA.


Exercise induces an increase in GLUT4 in skeletal muscle with a proportional increase in glucose transport capacity. This adaptation results in enhanced glycogen accumulation, i.e., "supercompensation," in response to carbohydrate feeding after glycogen-depleting exercise. The increase in GLUT4 reverses within 40 h after exercise in carbohydrate-fed rats. The purpose of this study was to determine whether prevention of skeletal muscle glycogen supercompensation after exercise results in maintenance of the increases in GLUT4 and the capacity for glycogen supercompensation. Rats were exercised by means of three daily bouts of swimming. GLUT4 mRNA was increased approximately 3-fold and GLUT4 protein was increased approximately 2-fold 18 h in epitrochlearis muscle after exercise. These increases in GLUT4 mRNA and protein reversed completely within 42 h after exercise in rats fed a high-carbohydrate diet. In contrast, the increases in GLUT4 protein, insulin-stimulated glucose transport, and increased capacity for glycogen supercompensation persisted unchanged for 66 h in rats fed a carbohydrate-free diet that prevented glycogen supercompensation after exercise. GLUT4 mRNA was still elevated at 42 h but had returned to baseline by 66 h after exercise in rats fed the carbohydrate-free diet. Glycogen-depleted rats fed carbohydrate 66 h after exercise underwent muscle glycogen supercompensation with concomitant reversal of the increase in GLUT4. These findings provide evidence that prevention of glycogen supercompensation after exercise results in persistence of exercise-induced increases in GLUT4 protein and enhanced capacity for glycogen supercompensation.

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