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FASEB J. 1998 Mar;12(3):335-9.

Effect of endurance training on mRNA expression of uncoupling proteins 1, 2, and 3 in the rat.

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Department of Medical Biochemistry, Faculty of Medicine, University of Geneva, Switzerland.


Endurance exercise training has been shown to decrease diet-induced thermogenesis (DIT) in rats and humans. In rodents, most thermogenesis is thought to occur in brown adipose tissue via activation of the uncoupling protein-1 (UCP1) and in skeletal muscle. Since the level of UCP1 mRNA in rat BAT was reported to be unmodified by exercise training, the newly described uncoupling proteins UCP2 and UCP3 could be responsible for the decreased DIT in trained rats. UCP3 mRNA levels in endurance-trained rats were found to be reduced by 76% and 59% in tibialis anterior and soleus muscles, respectively. UCP2 mRNA levels were also decreased in tibialis anterior and in heart by 54% and 41%, respectively. Neither white adipose tissue UCP2 nor brown adipose tissue UCP1, UCP2, and UCP3 mRNA levels were modified. The results of this study show that a need for a higher metabolic efficiency is associated with decreased mRNA expression of the uncoupling proteins in skeletal and heart muscles, which would decrease energy dissipation in these tissues. The down-regulation of UCP3 and UCP2 expressions might also contribute to the rapid weight gain known to occur when exercise training ceased.

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