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Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2018 Feb;28(2):585-595. doi: 10.1111/sms.12881. Epub 2017 Apr 20.

Effects of 6-month aerobic interval training on skeletal muscle metabolism in middle-aged metabolic syndrome patients.

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Xlab, Department of Biomedical Sciences, Faculty of Health Sciences, Center for Healthy Aging, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark.
ImFINE Research Group, Department of Health and Human Performance, Technical University of Madrid, Madrid, Spain.
Exercise Physiology Laboratory at Toledo, University of Castilla-La Mancha, Toledo, Spain.
Department of Sport Science, European University of Madrid, Madrid, Spain.


Aerobic interval training (AIT) improves the health of metabolic syndrome patients (MetS) more than moderate intensity continuous training. However, AIT has not been shown to reverse all metabolic syndrome risk factors, possibly due to the limited duration of the training programs. Thus, we assessed the effects of 6 months of AIT on cardio-metabolic health and muscle metabolism in middle-aged MetS. Eleven MetS (54.5±0.7 years old) underwent 6 months of 3 days a week supervised AIT program on a cycle ergometer. Cardio-metabolic health was assessed, and muscle biopsies were collected from the vastus lateralis prior and at the end of the program. Body fat mass (-3.8%), waist circumference (-1.8%), systolic (-10.1%), and diastolic (-9.3%) blood pressure were reduced, whereas maximal fat oxidation rate and VO2peak were significantly increased (38.9% and 8.0%, respectively; all P<.05). The remaining components of cardio-metabolic health measured (body weight, blood cholesterol, triglycerides, and glucose) were not changed after the intervention, and likewise, insulin sensitivity (CSi) remained unchanged. Total AMPK (23.4%), GLUT4 (20.5%), endothelial lipase (33.3%) protein expression, and citrate synthase activity (26.0%) increased with training (P<.05). Six months of AIT in MetS raises capacity for fat oxidation during exercise and increases VO2peak in combination with skeletal muscle improvements in mitochondrial enzyme activity. Muscle proteins involved in glucose, fat metabolism, and energy cell balance improved, although this was not reflected by parallel improvements in insulin sensitivity or blood lipid profile.


aerobic interval training; metabolic syndrome; muscle metabolism

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