Loss of strength capacity is associated with mortality, but resistance exercise training promotes only modest effects during cachexia progression


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Abstract

Aims:Resistance exercise training (RET) has been adopted as non-pharmacological anti-catabolic strategy. However, the role of RET to counteract cancer cachexia is still speculative. This study aimed to verify whether short-term RET would counteract skeletal muscle wasting in a severe cancer cachexia rat model.Main methods:Wistar rats were randomly allocated into four experimental groups; 1) untrained control rats (control), 2) rats submitted to RET (control + RET), 3) untrained rats injected with Walker 256 tumor cells in the bone marrow (tumor) and 4) rats injected with Walker 256 tumor cells in the bone marrow and submitted to RET (tumor + RET).Key findings:Tumor group displayed skeletal muscle atrophy fifteen days post tumor cells injection as assessed by plantaris (− 20.5%) and EDL (− 20.0%) muscle mass. EDL atrophy was confirmed showing 43.8% decline in the fiber cross sectional area. Even though RET increased the lactate dehydrogenase protein content and fully restored phosphorylated form of 4EBP-1 to the control levels in skeletal muscle, it failed to rescue muscle morphology in tumor-bearing rats. Indeed, RET did not mitigated loss of muscle function, anorexia, tumor growth or mortality rate. However, loss of strength capacity (assessed by 1-RM test performance) demonstrated a negative correlation with rats' survival (p = 0.02; r = 0.40), suggesting that loss of strength capacity might predict cancer mortality.Significance:These results demonstrated that bone marrow injection of Walker 256 tumor cells in rats induces cancer cachexia, strength capacity is associated with cancer survival and short-term RET promotes only modest effects during cachexia progression.

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