Repeated bouts of high-intensity exercise and muscle glycogen sparing in the rat

G. Raja, L. Brau, T.N. Palmer, Paul Fournier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Even in the absence of food intake, several animal species recovering from physical activity of high intensity can replenish completely their muscle glycogen stores. In some species of mammals, such as in rats and humans, glycogen repletion is only partial, thus suggesting that a few consecutive bouts of high-intensity exercise might eventually lead to the sustained depletion of their muscle glycogen. In order to test this prediction, groups of rats with a lead weight of 10% body mass attached to their tails were subjected to either one, two or three bouts of high-intensity swimming, each bout being separated from the next by a 1 h re covery period. Although glycogen repletion after the first bout of exercise was only partial, all the glycogen mobilised in subsequent bouts was completely replenished during the corresponding recovery periods and irrespective of muscle fibre compositions. The impact of repeated bouts of high-intensity exercise on plasma levels of fatty acids, acetoacetate and β-hydroxybutyrate suggests that the metabolic state of the rat prior to the second and third bouts of exercise was different from that before the first bout. In conclusion, rats resemble other vertebrate species in that without food intake there are conditions under which they can replenish completely their muscle glycogen stores from endogenous carbon sources when recovering from high-intensity exercise. It remains to be established, however, whether this capacity is typical of mammals in general.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2159-2166
JournalThe Journal of Experimental Biology
Issue number13
Publication statusPublished - 2003


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