We previously reported that high-intensity exercise training significantly increased citrate synthase (CS) activity, a marker of oxidative enzyme, in rat skeletal muscle to a level equaling that attained after low-intensity prolonged exercise training (Terada et al., J Appl Physiol 90: 2019-2024, 2001). Since mitochondrial oxidative enzymes and fatty acid oxidation (FAO) enzymes are often increased simultaneously, we assessed the effect of high-intensity intermittent swimming training on FAO enzyme activity in rat skeletal muscle. Male Sprague-Dawley rats (3 to 4 weeks old) were assigned to a 10-day period of high-intensity intermittent exercise training (HIT), low-intensity prolonged exercise training (LIT), or sedentary control conditions. In the HIT group, the rats repeated fourteen 20s swimming sessions with a weight equivalent to 14-16% of their body weight. Between the exercise sessions, a 10 s pause was allowed. Rats in the LIT group swam 6 h/day in two 3 h sessions separated by 45 min of rest. CS activity in the triceps muscle of rats in the HIT and LIT groups was significantly higher than that in the control rats by 36 and 39%, respectively. Furthermore, 3-β hydroxyacyl-CoA dehydrogenase (HAD) activity, an important enzyme in the FAO pathway in skeletal muscle, was higher in the two training groups than in the control rats (HIT: 100%, LIT: 88%). No significant difference in HAD activity was observed between the two training groups. In conclusion, the present investigation demonstrated that high-intensity intermittent swimming training elevated FAO enzyme activity in rat skeletal muscle to a level similar to that attained after 6 h of low-intensity prolonged swimming exercise training.
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