Interactive effects of growth hormone and exercise on muscle mass in suspended rats

R. E. Grindeland, R. R. Roy, V. R. Edgerton, E. J. Grossman, V. R. Mukku, B. Jiang, D. J. Pierotti, I. Rudolph

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

61 Scopus citations


Measures to attenuate muscle atrophy in rats in response to simulated microgravity [hindlimb suspension (HS)] have been only partially successful. In the present study, hypophysectomized rats were in HS for 7 days, and the effects of recombinant human growth hormone (GH), exercise (Ex), or GH+Ex on the weights, protein concentrations, and fiber cross-sectional areas (CSAs) of hindlimb muscles were determined. The weights of four extensor muscles, i.e., the soleus (Sol), medial (MG) and lateral (LG) gastrocnemius, and plantaris (Plt), and one adductor, i.e., the adductor longus (AL), were decreased by 10-22% after HS. Fiber CSAs were decreased by 34% in the Sol and by 17% in the MG after HS. In contrast, two flexors, i.e., the tibialis anterior (TA) and extensor digitorum longus (EDL), did not atrophy. In HS rats, GH treatment alone maintained the weights of the fast extensors (MG, LG, Plt) and flexors (TA, EDL) at or above those of control rats. This effect was not observed in the slow extensor (Sol) or AL. Exercise had no significant effect on the weight of any muscle in HS rats. A combination of GH and Ex treatments yielded a significant increase in the weights of the fast extensors and in the CSA of both fast and slow fibers of the MG and significantly increased Sol weight and CSA of the slow fibers of the Sol. The AL was not responsive to either GH or Ex treatments. Protein concentrations of the Sol and MG were higher only in the Sol of Ex and GH+Ex rats. These results suggest that while GH treatment or intermittent high-intensity exercise alone have a minimal effect in maintaining the mass of unloaded muscle, there is a strong interactive effect of these two treatments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)R316-R322
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Regulatory Integrative and Comparative Physiology
Issue number1 36-1
StatePublished - 1994


  • countermeasures
  • exercise
  • growth hormone
  • hindlimb suspension
  • muscle atrophy
  • simulated microgravity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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