Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2011 Jun 8.

Effects of Resistance Training on Adiposity and Metabolism after Spinal Cord Injury.

Gorgey AS, Mather KJ, Cupp HR, Gater DR.

1Spinal Cord Injury and Disorders Center, Hunter Holmes McGuire VAMC, 1201 Broad Rock Boulevard, Richmond, VA 23249, USA; 2Department of Physical Therapy, Indiana University,1140 W. Michigan St. Indianapolis, IN 46202, USA; 3Division of Endocrinology, Indiana University, 975 W. Walnut St. Indianapolis, IN 46202, USA; 4Clinical Research Center, Indiana University Hospital, 550 N. University Blvd. Indianapolis, IN 46202, USA; 5Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA 23249, USA.

Pilot work was conducted to evaluate the effects of neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES) resistance training (RT) of the paralyzed knee extensor muscle groups on skeletal muscle and intramuscular fat (IMF) cross-sectional areas (CSA), trunk visceral adipose tissue (VAT), carbohydrate and lipid profiles in men with spinal cord injury (SCI).

Nine individuals with motor complete SCI were randomly assigned to a RT + diet group (n= 5) or a diet group (n=4). The RT + diet underwent 12 weeks of progressive RT, twice weekly, to the knee extensor muscle groups using NMES and ankle weights. Weekly feedback was provided to both groups to maintain a standard diet. Magnetic resonance imaging and a whole body dual energy x-ray absorptiometery were acquired prior to and one week after interventions. Participants underwent a metabolic study after a 12h overnight fast, to measure fasting and post-challenge plasma glucose, insulin and lipid profiles.

Skeletal muscle hypertrophy was detected in the whole thigh, knee extensors and flexors in the RT + diet group compared to the diet group. VAT CSA, VAT: subcutaneous adipose tissue (SAT) ratio at L5- S3 and %IMF decreased significantly in the RT+ diet group. Plasma insulin area under the curve decreased in the RT + diet group but not in the diet group. Fasting triglycerides and cholesterol: high density lipoprotein decreased in the RT + diet group.

Twice weekly evoked RT to the paralyzed lower extremities resulted in significant skeletal muscle hypertrophy that was associated with reduction in VAT, VAT: SAT ratio and % IMF. Significant improvements in insulin profile and lipid metabolism were noted in the RT +diet when compared to diet alone.