Effects of high-intensity swimming training on GLUT-4 and glucose transport activity in rat skeletal muscle

J Appl Physiol (1985). 2001 Jun;90(6):2019-24. doi: 10.1152/jappl.2001.90.6.2019.


This study was performed to assess the effects of short-term, extremely high-intensity intermittent exercise training on the GLUT-4 content of rat skeletal muscle. Three- to four-week-old male Sprague-Dawley rats with an initial body weight ranging from 45 to 55 g were used for this study. These rats were randomly assigned to an 8-day period of high-intensity intermittent exercise training (HIT), relatively high-intensity intermittent prolonged exercise training (RHT), or low-intensity prolonged exercise training (LIT). Age-matched sedentary rats were used as a control. In the HIT group, the rats repeated fourteen 20-s swimming bouts with a weight equivalent to 14, 15, and 16% of body weight for the first 2, the next 4, and the last 2 days, respectively. Between exercise bouts, a 10-s pause was allowed. RHT consisted of five 17-min swimming bouts with a 3-min rest between bouts. During the first bout, the rat swam without weight, whereas during the following four bouts, the rat was attached to a weight equivalent to 4 and 5% of its body weight for the first 5 days and the following 3 days, respectively. Rats in the LIT group swam 6 h/day for 8 days in two 3-h bouts separated by 45 min of rest. In the first experiment, the HIT, LIT, and control rats were compared. GLUT-4 content in the epitrochlearis muscle in the HIT and LIT groups after training was significantly higher than that in the control rats by 83 and 91%, respectively. Furthermore, glucose transport activity, stimulated maximally by both insulin (2 mU/ml) (HIT: 48%, LIT: 75%) and contractions (25 10-s tetani) (HIT: 55%, LIT: 69%), was higher in the training groups than in the control rats. However, no significant differences in GLUT-4 content or in maximal glucose transport activity in response to both insulin and contractions were observed between the two training groups. The second experiment demonstrated that GLUT-4 content after HIT did not differ from that after RHT (66% higher in trained rats than in control). In conclusion, the present investigation demonstrated that 8 days of HIT lasting only 280 s elevated both GLUT-4 content and maximal glucose transport activity in rat skeletal muscle to a level similar to that attained after LIT, which has been considered a tool to increase GLUT-4 content maximally.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Transport, Active / physiology
  • Body Weight / physiology
  • Citrate (si)-Synthase / metabolism
  • Deoxyglucose / metabolism
  • Electric Stimulation
  • Glucose / metabolism*
  • Glucose Transporter Type 4
  • Glycogen / metabolism
  • Insulin / pharmacology
  • Male
  • Monosaccharide Transport Proteins / metabolism*
  • Muscle Proteins*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / enzymology
  • Muscle, Skeletal / metabolism*
  • Physical Conditioning, Animal / physiology*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Swimming / physiology*


  • Glucose Transporter Type 4
  • Insulin
  • Monosaccharide Transport Proteins
  • Muscle Proteins
  • Slc2a4 protein, rat
  • Glycogen
  • Deoxyglucose
  • Citrate (si)-Synthase
  • Glucose