Sixteen weeks of testosterone with or without evoked resistance training on protein expression, fiber hypertrophy and mitochondrial health after spinal cord injury

Academic Article


  • We investigated the effects of testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) with and without evoked resistance training (RT) on protein expression of key metabolic and hypertrophy regulators, muscle fiber cross-sectional area (CSA), and markers of mitochondrial health after spinal cord injury (SCI). Twenty-two men with chronic motor complete SCI were randomly assigned to either TRT + RT (n = 11) or TRT (n = 11) for 16 wk. TRT + RT men underwent twice weekly progressive RT using electrical stimulation with ankle weights. TRT was administered via testosterone patches (2-6 mg/day). Muscle biopsies were obtained before and after 16 wk from the right vastus lateralis. Expression of proteins associated with oxidative muscles and mechanical loading (PGC-1a and FAK), muscle hypertrophy (total and phosphorylated Akt, total and phosphorylated mTOR), and cellular metabolism (total and phosphorylated AMPK and GLUT4) were evaluated. Immunohistochemistry analysis was performed to measure fiber CSA and succinate dehydrogenase (SDH) activity as well as mitochondrial citrate synthase (CS) activity and complex III (CIII) activities. TRT + RT demonstrated a robust 27.5% increase in average fiber CSA compared with a - 9% decrease following TRT only (P = 0.01). GLUT4 protein expression was elevated in the TRT + RT group compared with TRT only (P = 0.005). Total Akt (P = 0.06) and phosphorylated Akt Ser389(P = 0.049) were also elevated in the TRT + RT group. Mitochondrial activity of SDH (P = 0.03) and CS (P = 0.006) increased in the TRT + RT group, with no changes in the TRT-only group. Sixteen weeks of TRT with RT resulted in fiber hypertrophy and beneficial changes in markers of skeletal muscle health and function. NEW & NOTEWORTHY Fiber cross-sectional area (CSA), protein expression, mitochondrial citrate synthase (CS), and succinate dehydrogenase (SDH) were measured following 16 wk of low-dose testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) with and without electrically evoked resistance training (RT) in men with spinal cord injury (SCI). Fiber CSA and protein expression of total GLUT4, total Akt, and phosphorylated Akt increased following TRT + RT but not in the TRT-only group. Mitochondrial CS and SDH increased after TRT + RT but not in TRT-only group.
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    Author List

  • Gorgey AS; Graham ZA; Chen Q; Rivers J; Adler RA; Lesnefsky EJ; Cardozo CP
  • Start Page

  • 1487
  • End Page

  • 1496
  • Volume

  • 128
  • Issue

  • 6