Physiological adaptations to resistance training in rats selectively bred for low and high response to aerobic exercise training.

Juha P. Ahtiainen (Corresponding Author), Sanna Lensu, Ilona Ruotsalainen, Moritz Schumann, Johanna K. Ihalainen, Vasco Fachada, Christopher L. Mendias, Matthew S. Brook, Kenneth Smith, Philip J. Atherton, Lauren G. Koch, Steven L. Britton, Heikki Kainulainen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


New Findings: What is the central question of this study? Can phenotypic traits associated with low response to one mode of training be extrapolated to other exercise-inducible phenotypes? The present study investigated whether rats that are low responders to endurance training are also low responders to resistance training. What is the main finding and its importance? After resistance training, rats that are high responders to aerobic exercise training improved more in maximal strength compared with low-responder rats. However, the greater gain in strength in high-responder rats was not accompanied by muscle hypertrophy, suggesting that the responses observed could be mainly neural in origin. Abstract: The purpose of this study was to determine whether rats selectively bred for low and high response to aerobic exercise training co-segregate for differences in muscle adaptations to ladder-climbing resistance training. Five high-responder (HRT) and five low-responder (LRT) rats completed the resistance training, while six HRT and six LRT rats served as sedentary control animals. Before and after the 6 week intervention, body composition was determined by dual energy X-ray absorptiometry. Before tissue harvesting, the right triceps surae muscles were loaded by electrical stimulation. Muscle fibre cross-sectional areas, nuclei per cell, phosphorylation status of selected signalling proteins of mTOR and Smad pathways, and muscle protein, DNA and RNA concentrations were determined for the right gastrocnemius muscle. The daily protein synthesis rate was determined by the deuterium oxide method from the left quadriceps femoris muscle. Tissue weights of fore- and hindlimb muscles were measured. In response to resistance training, maximal carrying capacity was greater in HRT (∼3.3 times body mass) than LRT (∼2.5 times body mass), indicating greater improvements of strength in HRT. However, muscle hypertrophy that could be related to greater strength gains in HRT was not observed. Furthermore, noteworthy changes within the experimental groups or differences between groups were not observed in the present measures. The lack of hypertrophic muscular adaptations despite considerable increases in muscular strength suggest that adaptations to the present ladder-climbing training in HRT and LRT rats were largely induced by neural adaptations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1513-1523
Number of pages11
JournalExperimental Physiology
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2018
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Adaptation, Physiological/physiology
  • Animals
  • Body Composition/physiology
  • Male
  • Muscle Strength/physiology
  • Muscle, Skeletal/physiology
  • Physical Conditioning, Animal/physiology
  • Rats
  • Resistance Training


Dive into the research topics of 'Physiological adaptations to resistance training in rats selectively bred for low and high response to aerobic exercise training.'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this