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J Exerc Nutrition Biochem. 2017 Sep 30;21(3):50-54. doi: 10.20463/jenb.2017.0008.

Resistance training increases fibroblast growth factor-21 and irisin levels in the skeletal muscle of Zucker diabetic fatty rats.

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Physical activity and performance institute, Konkuk University, Seoul, Republic of Korea.
Health and Exercise Science, Institute of sport science, Seoul National University, Seoul, Republic of Korea.



Although the fibroblast growth factor-21 (FGF-21) and irisin roles are well demonstrated in metabolic disease, there have been no reports investigating the effect of resistance exercise on FGF-21 and irisin levels in diabetic skeletal muscles. Therefore, this study aimed to investigate the change of FGF-21 and irisin levels in various skeletal muscles, and their association with muscle strength, following 8 weeks of resistance training using Zucker diabetic fatty rats (type 2 diabetic animal models).


Twenty-four male lean (Zucker lean control, ZLC) and diabetic (Zucker diabetic fatty, ZDF) rats (age, 8 weeks old) were separated into 3 groups, lean control (ZLC-Con, n=8), diabetic control (ZDF-Con, n=8), and diabetic exercise-trained groups (ZDF-Ex, n=8). The rats in ZDF-Ex were trained to climb a 1-m vertical (85 degrees inclined) ladder with weights. Resistance training was performed with 10 repetitions/day for 12 weeks (3 days/week). The skeletal muscle levels of FGF-21 and irisin were measured using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays.


The levels of FGF-21 in the soleus (SOL) and extensor digitorum longus muscles of ZDF-Ex were higher (p<0.05) compared to levels in ZDF-Con. Additionally, we found a significantly higher irisin level in the SOL muscles of ZDF-Ex compared to that in ZDF-Con. Moreover, we found that the levels of FGF-21 (R=0.532, p=0.02) and irisin (R=0.498, p=0.03) had significant correlations with grip strength.


Based on these results, resistance training may be an efficient intervention for increasing FGF-21 and irisin levels in type 2 diabetic (T2DM) skeletal muscles.


Diabetes; FGF-21; Irisin; Resistance training; Zucker diabetic fatty rat

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