Fructose ingestion impairs expression of genes involved in skeletal muscle's adaptive response to aerobic exercise

Genes Nutr. 2017 Dec 8;12:33. doi: 10.1186/s12263-017-0588-9. eCollection 2017.


Background: The inverse relationship between exercise capacity and its variation over time and both cardiovascular and all-cause mortality suggests the existence of an etiological nexus between cardiometabolic diseases and the molecular regulators of exercise capacity. Coordinated adaptive responses elicited by physical training enhance exercise performance and metabolic efficiency and possibly mediate the health benefits of physical exercise. In contrast, impaired expression of genes involved in mitochondrial biogenesis or protein turnover in skeletal muscle-key biological processes involved in adaptation to physical training-leads to insulin resistance and obesity. Ingestion of fructose has been shown to suppress the exercise-induced GLUT4 response in rat skeletal muscle. To evaluate in greater detail how fructose ingestion might blunt the benefits of physical training, we investigated the effects of fructose ingestion on exercise induction of genes that participate in regulation of mitochondrial biogenesis and protein turnover in rat's skeletal muscle.

Methods: Eight-week-old Wistar rats were randomly assigned to sedentary (C), exercise (treadmill running)-only (E), fructose-only (F), and fructose + exercise (FE) groups and treated accordingly for 8 weeks. Blood and quadriceps femoris were collected for biochemistry, serum insulin, and gene expression analysis. Expression of genes involved in regulation of mitochondrial biogenesis and autophagy, GLUT4, and ubiquitin E3 ligases MuRF-1, and MAFbx/Atrogin-1 were assayed with quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction.

Results: Aerobic training improved exercise capacity in both E and FE groups. A main effect of fructose ingestion on body weight and fasting serum triglyceride concentration was detected. Fructose ingestion impaired the expression of PGC-1α, FNDC5, NR4A3, GLUT4, Atg9, Lamp2, Ctsl, Murf-1, and MAFBx/Atrogin-1 in skeletal muscle of both sedentary and exercised animals while expression of Errα and Pparδ was impaired only in exercised rats.

Conclusions: Our results show that fructose ingestion impairs the expression of genes involved in biological processes relevant to exercise-induced remodeling of skeletal muscle. This might provide novel insight on how a dietary factor contributes to the genesis of disorders of glucose metabolism.

Keywords: Exercise training; Fructose; PGC-1α; Protein turnover; Rats; Skeletal muscle.