Aerobic exercise prevents apoptosis in skeletal muscles of high-fat-fed ovariectomized rats

Hye Jin Kim, Oran Kwon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


[Purpose] Aging and obesity are associated with skeletal muscle atrophy-related signaling pathways, including apoptosis. Many studies have shown that menopause is associated with an increased risk of skeletal muscle atrophy. There is an increasing need to develop strategies that will improve the risk of skeletal muscle atrophy through exercise interventions. However, the effect of exercise on estrogen deficiency-induced apoptosis in skeletal muscles is poorly understood. Therefore, we examined the effects of low-intensity exercise on ovariectomy (OVX)-induced apoptosis of the soleus and plantaris muscles. [Methods] The ovaries of all female Sprague-Dawley rats aged 8 weeks, were surgically removed to induce postmenopausal status. The rats were randomly divided into three treatment groups: (1) NSV (normal-diet-sedentary-OVX); (2) HSV (high-fat-diet-sedentary-OVX); and (3) HEV (high-fat-diet-exercise-OVX). The exercise groups were regularly running for 30-40 min/day at 15-18 m/minute, five times/week, for eight weeks. [Results] The mRNA levels of Bax significantly decreased in the exercised soleus muscle, and caspase-3 decreased in the plantaris. The skeletal muscle TUNEL-positive apoptotic cells in the high-fat-diet-sedentary OVX rats improved in the treadmill exercise group. Additionally, nuclear caspase-3 levels decreased in the treadmill exercise group compared to those in both sedentary groups. These results suggest that low-intensity treadmill exercise prevents skeletal muscle apoptosis in HFD-fed OVX rats. [Conclusion] Induction of HFD in estrogen-deficient mice increased apoptosis in skeletal muscle, which could also be alleviated by low-intensity aerobic exercise. These results may indicate a crucial therapeutic effect of treadmill exercise in preventing skeletal muscle apoptosis in menopausal or post-menopausal women.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
JournalPhysical Activity and Nutrition
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the Basic Science Research Program of the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF-2019R1I1A1A01061357).

Publisher Copyright:
©2022 Hye Jin Kim et al.; ©2022 The Korean Society for Exercise Nutrition.


  • aerobic exercise
  • apoptosis
  • menopause
  • ovariectomy
  • skeletal muscle


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