The Journal of Physiological Sciences

, Volume 62, Issue 1, pp 1–9 | Cite as

The effect of high-intensity intermittent swimming on post-exercise glycogen supercompensation in rat skeletal muscle

  • Akiko Sano
  • Keiichi Koshinaka
  • Natsuki Abe
  • Masashi Morifuji
  • Jinichiro Koga
  • Emi Kawasaki
  • Kentaro Kawanaka
Original Paper


A single bout of prolonged endurance exercise stimulates glucose transport in skeletal muscles, leading to post-exercise muscle glycogen supercompensation if sufficient carbohydrate is provided after the cessation of exercise. Although we recently found that short-term sprint interval exercise also stimulates muscle glucose transport, the effect of this type of exercise on glycogen supercompensation is uncertain. Therefore, we compared the extent of muscle glycogen accumulation in response to carbohydrate feeding following sprint interval exercise with that following endurance exercise. In this study, 16-h-fasted rats underwent a bout of high-intensity intermittent swimming (HIS) as a model of sprint interval exercise or low-intensity prolonged swimming (LIS) as a model of endurance exercise. During HIS, the rats swam for eight 20-s sessions while burdened with a weight equal to 18% of their body weight. The LIS rats swam with no load for 3 h. The exercised rats were then refed for 4, 8, 12, or 16 h. Glycogen levels were almost depleted in the epitrochlearis muscles of HIS- or LIS-exercised rats immediately after the cessation of exercise. A rapid increase in muscle glycogen levels occurred during 4 h of refeeding, and glycogen levels had peaked at the end of 8 h of refeeding in each group of exercised refed rats. The peak glycogen levels during refeeding were not different between HIS- and LIS-exercised refed rats. Furthermore, although a large accumulation of muscle glycogen in response to carbohydrate refeeding is known to be associated with decreased insulin responsiveness of glucose transport, and despite the fact that muscle glycogen supercompensation was observed in the muscles of our exercised rats at the end of 4 h of refeeding, insulin responsiveness was not decreased in the muscles of either HIS- or LIS-exercised refed rats compared with non-exercised fasted control rats at this time point. These results suggest that sprint interval exercise enhances muscle glycogen supercompensation in response to carbohydrate refeeding as well as prolonged endurance exercise does. Furthermore, in this study, both HIS and LIS exercise prevented insulin resistance of glucose transport in glycogen supercompensated muscle during the early phase of carbohydrate refeeding. This probably led to the enhanced muscle glycogen supercompensation after exercise.


Insulin Glucose uptake Akt Exercise Epitrochlearis 



We are grateful to Dr. Tadaomi Takenawa (Kobe University, Kobe, Japan) for providing the SKIP antibodies used in this study. This research was supported by the Uehara Memorial Foundation (Tokyo, Japan), the Nakatomi Foundation (Tosu, Japan), a Grant-in-Aid from Niigata University of Health and Welfare, and a Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research (KAKENHI) (C) no. 16500426 from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science. K. Koshinaka was supported by Postdoctoral Fellowships from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science.


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Copyright information

© The Physiological Society of Japan and Springer 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Akiko Sano
    • 1
  • Keiichi Koshinaka
    • 1
  • Natsuki Abe
    • 1
  • Masashi Morifuji
    • 2
  • Jinichiro Koga
    • 2
  • Emi Kawasaki
    • 1
  • Kentaro Kawanaka
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Health and NutritionNiigata University of Health and WelfareNiigataJapan
  2. 2.Food and Health R&D LaboratoriesMeiji Seika Kaisha LtdSakadoJapan

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