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Int J Biol Sci 2008; 4(5):300-308. doi:10.7150/ijbs.4.300

Research Paper

Effect of exercise training on calpain systems in lean and obese Zucker rats

Yao-Yuan Hsieh1,2 *, Chi-Chen Chang1,2 *, Kung-Hao Hsu3 *, Fuu-Jen Tsai2,4, Chih-Ping Chen5, Horng-Der Tsai6 ✉

1. Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, China Medical University Hospital, Taichung, Taiwan.
2. School of Chinese Medicine, College of Chinese Medicine, China Medical University.
3. Department of Animal Science and Biotechnology, Tunghai University, Taichung, Taiwan.
4. Department of Pediatrics and Genetics, China medical University, Taichung, Taiwan.
5. Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Mackay Memorial Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan.
6. Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Changhua Christian Hospital, Changhua, Taiwan
* Chi-Chen Chang, Yao-Yuan Hsieh and Kung-Hao Hsu contributed equally to this work.


Exercise training plays a major role in the improving physiology of diabetes. Herein we aimed to investigate the influence of exercise upon the calcium-dependent calpain-isoform expressions of lean or obese Zucker rats, a model of obesity and type II diabetes (NIDDM). Five-month-old rats were divided: (1) obese sedentary (OS, n=7); (2) obese exercise (OE, n=7); (3) lean sedentary (LS, n=7); (4) lean exercise (LE, n=7). After 2-month exercise (treadmill running), the body weight (BW) and expression of calpain 10, μ-calpain, and m-calpain in skeletal muscles were determined by RT-PCR, using β-actin as internal standard. We found exercise is useful for BW lossing, especially in the obese rats. The BW difference between OS and OE rats (69 g vs. 18.2 g) was more significantly than that between LS and LE rats (41.8 g vs. 28.7g). The calpain 10 expression of LS rats (0.965) was lower than that of LE rats (1.006), whereas those of OS and OE were comparable. The μ- or m-calpain expressions of sedentary groups (OS, LS) was significantly higher than those of exercise groups (OE, LE). The μ-calpain expression (1.13/0.92) and m-calpain expression (1.01/0.99) of OS/LS rats was significantly higher than those of OE/LE rats [1.07/0.9 (μ-calpain); 0.97/0.95 (m-calpain)]. We concluded that the μ- or m-calpains in skeletal muscle are regulated by exercise in both lean and obese Zucker rats. Exercise and BW controlling might improve the physiopathology of obesity and diabetes. Both μ- or m-calpains might become useful markers for prognoses of diabetes.

Keywords: Calpain, diabetes, exercise, obesity, skeletal muscle

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How to cite this article:
Hsieh YY, Chang CC, Hsu KH, Tsai FJ, Chen CP, Tsai HD. Effect of exercise training on calpain systems in lean and obese Zucker rats. Int J Biol Sci 2008; 4(5):300-308. doi:10.7150/ijbs.4.300. Available from