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  • 1 Department of Exercise Physiology, Faculty of Physical Education and Exercise Sciences, University of Tehran, Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran
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Abstract

Objective

It has been shown that high-intensity interval training (HIIT) leads to skeletal muscle hypertrophy; however, its mechanisms of cellular and molecular regulation are still unclear. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of HIIT on muscle hypertrophy and major signal transduction pathways.

Design

12 male rats were randomly divided into two groups: control and HIIT. The exercise group performed 30-min HIIT in each session (5 × 4-min intervals running at 85–95% VO2max separated by 2-min active rest at 55–60% VO2max), 3 days/week for 8 weeks. Muscle fiber cross-sectional area (CSA) and the expression of signal transduction pathway proteins were determined in the gastrocnemius muscle.

Results

In the HIIT group, the expression of IGF-I, IGF-IR Akt, p-Akt, AMPKα, p-AMPKα and follistatin increased significantly, whereas a significant decrease was observed in the expression of FoxO1, p-FoxO1, myostatin, ActRIIB, Smad2/3 and p-Smad2/3 (P < 0.05). However, there were no significant differences between the HIIT and control groups in the expression of mTOR, p-mTOR, P70S6K, and p-P70S6K (P > 0.05). In addition, CSA and gastrocnemius muscle weight increased significantly in the HIIT group (P < 0.05).

Conclusions

HIIT induced muscle hypertrophy by improving IGF-I/Akt/FoxO and myostatin/Smad signal transduction pathways.

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