Beneficial Mitochondrial Biogenesis in Gastrocnemius Muscle Promoted by High-Intensity Interval Training in Elderly Female Rats

Document Type : Original Article


1 Department of Basic Sciences, Chabahar Maritime University, Chabahar, Iran

2 Department of Physical Education and Sport Sciences of Tehran University, Tehran, Iran

3 Department of Physical Education and Sport Sciences, University of Kurdistan, Sanandaj, Iran


Exercise can attenuate mitochondrial dysfunction caused by aging. Our study aimed to compare 12
weeks of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) and moderate-intensity continuous training (MICT) on the expression
of mitochondria proteins [e.g., AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK), Estrogen-related receptor alpha (ERRα), p38
mitogen-activated protein kinase (P38MAPK), and Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma coactivator
1-alpha (PGC1-α)] in gastrocnemius muscle of old female rats.

Materials and Methods:
In this experimental study, thirty six old female Wistar rats (18-month-old and 270-310 g) were
divided into three groups: i. HIIT, ii. MICT, and iii. Control group (C). The HIIT protocol was performed for 12 weeks with
16-28 minutes (2 minutes training with 85-90% VO2max in high intensity and 2 minutes training with 45-75% VO2max low intensity). The MICT was performed for 30-60 minutes with the intensity of 65-70% VO2max. The gastrocnemius muscle expression of AMPK, ERRα, P38MAPK, and PGC1α proteins were determined by Western blotting.

The expression of AMPK (P=0.004), P38MAPK (P=0.003), PGC-1α (P=0.028), and ERRα (P=0.006) in HIIT
was higher than C group. AMPK (P=0.03), P38MAPK (P=0.032), PGC-1α (P=0.015), and ERRα (P=0.028) in MICT
was higher than the C group. Also expression of AMPK (P=0.008), P38MAPK (P=0.009), PGC-1α (P=0.020) and ERRα
(P=0.014) in MICT was higher than MICT group.

It seems that exercise training has beneficial effects on mitochondrial biogenesis, but the HIIT training
method is more effective than MICT in improving mitochondrial function in aging.


Main Subjects

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