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Acta Physiol Scand. 2005 May;184(1):59-65.

Effects of high-intensity intermittent swimming on PGC-1alpha protein expression in rat skeletal muscle.

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Division of Health Promotion and Exercise, Incorporated Administrative Agency, National Institute of Health and Nutrition, Toyama, Shinjuku City, Tokyo, Japan.



The aim of the present investigation was to elucidate the effects of exercise intensity on exercise-induced expression of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma coactivator-1alpha (PGC-1alpha) protein in rat skeletal muscle.


We measured PGC-1alpha content in the skeletal muscles of male Sprague-Dawley rats (age: 5-6 weeks old; body weight: 150-170 g) after a single session of high-intensity intermittent exercise (HIE) or low-intensity prolonged swimming exercise (LIE). During HIE, the rats swam for fourteen 20-s periods carrying a weight (14% of body weight), and the periods of swimming were separated by a 10-s pause. LIE rats swam with no load for 6 h in two 3-h sessions, separated by 45 min of rest.


After HIE, the PGC-1alpha protein content in rat epitrochlearis muscle had increased by 126, 140 and 126% at 2, 6 and 18 h, respectively, compared with that of the age-matched sedentary control rats' muscle. Immediately, 6 and 18-h after LIE, the PGC-1alpha protein content in the muscle was significantly elevated by 84, 95 and 67% respectively. The PGC-1alpha protein content observed 6 h after HIE tended to be higher than that observed after LIE. However, there was no statistically significant difference between the two values (P = 0.12).


The present investigation suggests that irrespective of the intensity of the exercise, PGC-1alpha protein content in rat skeletal muscle increases to a comparable level when stimuli induced by different protocols are saturated. Further, HIE is a potent stimulus for enhancing the expression of PGC-1alpha protein, which may induce mitochondrial biogenesis in exercise-activated skeletal muscle.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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