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Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2009 Apr;296(4):E775-86. doi: 10.1152/ajpendo.90904.2008. Epub 2009 Jan 27.

Endurance swimming stimulates transepithelial calcium transport and alters the expression of genes related to calcium absorption in the intestine of rats.

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Department of Physiology, Faculty of Science, Mahidol University, Rama VI Road, Bangkok 10400, Thailand.


Endurance impact exercise, e.g., running, is known to enhance the intestinal calcium absorption. However, nonimpact exercise, e.g., swimming, is more appropriate for osteoporotic patients with cardiovascular diseases or disorders of bone and joint, but the effect of swimming on the intestinal calcium transport was unknown. This study, therefore, aimed to investigate the transepithelial calcium transport and the expression of related genes in the intestine of rats trained to swim nonstop 1 h/day, 5 days/wk for 2 wk. We found that endurance swimming stimulated calcium transport in the duodenum, proximal jejunum, and cecum, while decreasing that in the proximal colon. Swimming affected neither the transepithelial potential difference nor resistance. As demonstrated by real-time PCR, the small intestine, especially the duodenum, responded to swimming by upregulating a number of genes related to the transcellular calcium transport, i.e., TRPV5, TRPV6, calbindin-D9k, PMCA1b, and NCX1, and the paracellular calcium transport, i.e., ZO-1, ZO-2, ZO-3, cingulin, occludin, and claudins, as well as nuclear receptor of 1,25(OH)2D3. In contrast, swimming downregulated those genes in the colon. Microarray analysis showed that swimming also altered the expression of duodenal genes related to the transport of several ions and nutrients, e.g., Na+, K+, Cl-, glucose, and amino acids. In conclusion, endurance swimming enhanced intestinal calcium absorption, in part, by upregulating the calcium transporter genes. The present microarray study also provided relevant information for further investigations into the intestinal nutrient and electrolyte transport during nonimpact exercise.

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