Right ventricular metabolic adaptations to high-intensity interval and moderate-intensity continuous training in healthy middle-aged men

Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2016 Sep 1;311(3):H667-75. doi: 10.1152/ajpheart.00399.2016. Epub 2016 Jul 22.


Despite the recent studies on structural and functional adaptations of the right ventricle (RV) to exercise training, adaptations of its metabolism remain unknown. We investigated the effects of short-term, high-intensity interval training (HIIT) and moderate-intensity continuous training (MICT) on RV glucose and fat metabolism. Twenty-eight untrained, healthy 40-55 yr-old-men were randomized into HIIT (n = 14) and MICT (n = 14) groups. Subjects performed six supervised cycle ergometer training sessions within 2 wk (HIIT session: 4-6 × 30 s all-out cycling/4-min recovery; MICT session: 40-60 min at 60% peak O2 uptake). Primary outcomes were insulin-stimulated RV glucose uptake (RVGU) and fasted state RV free fatty acid uptake (RVFFAU) measured by positron emission tomography. Secondary outcomes were changes in RV structure and function, determined by cardiac magnetic resonance. RVGU decreased after training (-22% HIIT, -12% MICT, P = 0.002 for training effect), but RVFFAU was not affected by the training (P = 0.74). RV end-diastolic and end-systolic volumes, respectively, increased +5 and +7% for HIIT and +4 and +8% for MICT (P = 0.002 and 0.005 for training effects, respectively), but ejection fraction mildly decreased (-2% HIIT, -4% MICT, P = 0.034 for training effect). RV mass and stroke volume remained unaltered. None of the observed changes differed between the training groups (P > 0.12 for group × training interaction). Only 2 wk of physical training in previously sedentary subjects induce changes in RV glucose metabolism, volumes, and ejection fraction, which precede exercise-induced hypertrophy of RV.

Keywords: PET imaging; high-intensity interval training; metabolism; moderate-intensity continuous training; right ventricle.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Video-Audio Media
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological*
  • Adult
  • Exercise*
  • Fatty Acids, Nonesterified / metabolism*
  • Glucose / metabolism*
  • Healthy Volunteers*
  • Heart Ventricles / diagnostic imaging
  • Heart Ventricles / drug effects
  • Heart Ventricles / metabolism*
  • High-Intensity Interval Training / methods*
  • Humans
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / pharmacology
  • Insulin / pharmacology
  • Lipid Metabolism
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Positron-Emission Tomography
  • Ventricular Function, Right*


  • Fatty Acids, Nonesterified
  • Hypoglycemic Agents
  • Insulin
  • Glucose