Interaction of resistance training, electroacupuncture and Huang Qi supplementation on skeletal muscle function and GLUT4 protein concentration in rats

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To determine the effects and potential synergy of resistance training (RT), Huang Qi (HQ) herbal supplementation, and electroacupuncture (EA) on skeletal muscle mass, contractile properties, and components of the insulin signalling pathway in healthy Sprague Dawley rats.


Female Sprague Dawley rats were randomly assigned to one of five groups (n=8 each): control (CON), RT only, RT with EA (RT-EA), RT with HQ (RT-HQ), and RT combined with both EA and HQ (RT-EA-HQ). RT was performed using ladder climbing every other day for 8 weeks. Sparse-wave EA was applied for 15 min/day, 3 times/week for 8 weeks. HQ supplementation was provided via oral gavage daily for 8 weeks.


RT significantly increased the muscle mass of the flexor hallucis longus (FHL) compared to CON. The isometric twitch and tetanic tension of the FHL in the RT-EA, RT-HQ, and RT-EA-HQ groups were significantly higher compared to CON and RT groups. RT-EA treatment (with or without HQ) significantly increased GLUT4 protein concentration but had no impact on Akt-2.


EA appears to be an effective treatment modality for increasing muscle mass and function when combined with RT. RT-EA may also be an effective method for improving glucose tolerance as a result of increases in GLUT4 protein concentration.

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