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The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness 2019 May;59(5):886-91

DOI: 10.23736/S0022-4707.18.08456-6


language: English

Corticosterone rapidly improves the endurance of high-intensity exercise (swimming) via nongenomic mechanisms in mice

Hong GONG 1, Lei LIU 1, Wen-Jun SU 1, Zhen ZHU 1, Yun-Zi LIU 1, Yong-Jie LIAN 1, Wei PENG 1, Zhi-Yong CAO 1, Ting ZHANG 2, Chun-Lei JIANG 1

1 Laboratory of Stress Medicine, Faculty of Psychology and Mental Health, Second Military Medical University, Shanghai, China; 2 Department of Navy Medicine, Second Military Medical University, Shanghai, China

BACKGROUND: Glucocorticoids (GCs) take a pivotal role during the stress response. Some clinical studies suggest short-term GCs intake improves exercise endurance. However, whether the rapid nongenomic effects of GCs are involved in acute exercise is still unknown. Here, we aimed to reveal the potential nongenomic effects of GCs in skeletal muscle of mice during exercise.
METHODS: Adrenalectomized mice subjected to a weight-loaded forced swim were used for detecting the changes of time to exhaustion. Corticosterone (CORT) and other drugs were injected via the coccygeal vein before swimming. After exhaustion, the injury of skeletal muscle, nitric oxide generation, blood glucose and lactic acid were determined.
RESULTS: The results demonstrated that CORT rapidly extended the time to exhaustion within 30 min (~30%), which could not be abolished by glucocorticoid receptor antagonist RU486. Pretreatment with the nitric oxide synthesis inhibitor L-NAME prior to CORT administration further increased exercise tolerance compared to the increase caused by CORT alone. Moreover, CORT contributed to protecting skeletal muscle from injury and maintaining blood glucose.
CONCLUSIONS: Considered together, our results suggest that GCs rapidly improve exercise tolerance via its nongenomic mechanism, which is associated with the inhibition of nitric oxide generation. Pretreatment of GCs may be helpful to enhance exercise tolerance during acute exercise.

KEY WORDS: Glucocorticoids - Muscle, skeletal - Nitric oxide - Exercise tolerance

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