Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise

Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise (MSSE), ACSM's flagship monthly peer-reviewed journal, is the leading multidisciplinary original research journal for members. Each issue features original investigations, clinical studies and comprehensive reviews on current topics in sports medicine and exercise science.
Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise - Current Issue
  1. imagePurpose Women who develop gestational hypertension have evidence of elevated muscle sympathetic nerve activity (MSNA) in early pregnancy, which continues to rise after diagnosis. Exercise has been shown to play a preventative role in the development of gestational hypertension and has been shown to reduce resting and reflex MSNA in nonpregnant populations. We sought to investigate whether aerobic exercise affected the sympathetic regulation of blood pressure between the second and third trimesters of pregnancy. Methods We conducted a randomized controlled trial of structured aerobic exercise (n = 31) compared with no intervention (control, n = 28) beginning at 16–20 wk and continuing until 34–36 wk of gestation (NCT02948439). Women in the exercise group were prescribed aerobic activity at 50%–70% of their heart rate reserve, on 3–4 d·wk−1 for 25–40 min with a 5-min warm-up and 5-min cool-down (i.e., up to 160 min total activity per week). At preintervention and postintervention assessments, data from ~10 min of quiet rest and a 3-min cold pressor test were analyzed to determine sympathetic nervous system activity and reactivity. Results MSNA was obtained in 51% of assessments. Resting MSNA burst frequency and burst incidence increased across gestation (main effect of gestational age, P = 0.002). Neurovascular transduction was blunted in the control group (P = 0.024) but not in exercisers (P = 0.873) at the postintervention time point. Lastly, MSNA reactivity during the cold pressor test was not affected by gestational age or exercise (P = 0.790, interaction). Conclusions These data show that exercise attenuates both the rise in MSNA and the blunting of neurovascular transduction. This may partially explain the lower risk of developing gestational hypertension in women who are active during their pregnancies.
  2. imagePurpose There is a lack of knowledge as to how different exercise-based cardiac rehabilitation programming affects skeletal muscle adaptations in coronary artery disease (CAD) patients. We first characterized the skeletal muscle from adults with CAD compared with a group of age- and sex-matched healthy adults. We then determined the effects of a traditional moderate-intensity continuous exercise program (TRAD) or a stair climbing–based high-intensity interval training program (STAIR) on skeletal muscle metabolism in CAD. Methods Sixteen adults (n = 16, 61 ± 7 yr), who had undergone recent treatment for CAD, were randomized to perform (3 d·wk−1) either TRAD (n = 7, 30 min at 60%–80% of peak heart rate) or STAIR (n = 9, 3 × 6 flights) for 12 wk. Muscle biopsies were collected at baseline in both CAD and healthy controls (n = 9), and at 4 and 12 wk after exercise training in CAD patients undertaking TRAD or STAIR. Results We found that CAD had a lower capillary-to-fiber ratio (C/Fi, 35% ± 25%, P = 0.06) and capillary-to-fiber perimeter exchange (CFPE) index (23% ± 29%, P = 0.034) in Type II fibers compared with healthy controls. However, 12 wk of cardiac rehabilitation with either TRAD or STAIR increased C/Fi (Type II, 23% ± 14%, P 0.001) and CFPE (Type I, 10% ± 23%, P 0.01; Type II, 18% ± 22%, P = 0.002). Conclusion Cardiac rehabilitation via TRAD or STAIR exercise training improved the compromised skeletal muscle microvascular phenotype observed in CAD patients.
  3. imagePurpose Not all patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) experience similar benefits after pulmonary rehabilitation (PR). This pre–post PR study used a large sample of patients with COPD to determine whether PR-induced changes of oxygen uptake (V˙O2) kinetics and exercise responses of V˙O2, carbon dioxide output (V˙CO2), minute ventilation (V˙E), V˙E/V˙CO2, breathing frequency, and tidal volume differed between responders and nonresponders to PR. Methods Responders to PR were defined as patients with a minimal clinically important increase in endurance time of 105 s. Isotime (=180 s) values of V˙O2, V˙CO2, V˙E, V˙E/V˙CO2, breathing frequency, and tidal volume; gains of V˙O2, V˙CO2, and V˙E; and V˙O2 mean response time of 183 patients with COPD (forced expiratory volume in 1 s: 56% ± 19% predicted) were compared between pre- and post-PR constant work rate tests. Results After PR, only the group of responders significantly decreased V˙O2 mean response time (P 0.05), V˙CO2 gain, V˙E gain, and isotime values of V˙CO2, V˙E, and V˙E/V˙CO2 (all, P 0.001), while also improving their breathing pattern (e.g., decreased breathing frequency isotime value; P 0.0001). These changes were not observed in the group of nonresponders. Changes in physiological exercise responses were correlated with changes in physical performance (e.g., correlation between changes in V˙O2 mean response time and endurance time: P = 0.0002, r = −0.32). Conclusions PR-induced changes in physiological exercise responses differed between responders and nonresponders. Physiological changes are relevant to explain the variable improvements of physical performance after PR in patients with COPD.
  4. imageIntroduction Exercise-induced laryngeal obstruction (EILO) is a differential diagnosis for asthma and prevalent in athletes referred for exercise-induced dyspnea. The aim of this study was to estimate the prevalence of EILO in elite cross-country skiers, known for a high prevalence of asthma. Method Elite cross-country skiers were invited for screening of EILO. Screening consisted of clinical assessment, questionnaires, skin prick test, spirometry, eucapnic voluntary hyperventilation test, and continuous laryngoscopy during exercise test. Current asthma was defined as physician-diagnosed asthma and use of asthma medication during the last 12 months. EILO was defined as ≥2 points at the supraglottic or glottic level during exercise at maximal effort, using a visual grade score system. Result A total of 89 (51% female) cross-country skiers completed the study. EILO was identified in 27% of the skiers, 83% of whom were female. All skiers with EILO had supraglottic EILO, and there was no glottic EILO. Current asthma was present in 34 (38%) of the skiers, 10 (29%) of whom had concomitant EILO. In the skiers with EILO, a higher proportion reported wheeze or shortness of breath after exercise, compared with skiers without EILO. In skiers with EILO and current asthma, compared with skiers with asthma only, a higher proportion reported wheeze or shortness of breath after exercise. Asthma medication usage did not differ between these groups. Conclusion EILO is common in elite cross-country skiers, especially females. Asthma and EILO may coexist, and the prevalence of respiratory symptoms is higher in skiers with both. Testing for EILO should be considered in cross-country skiers with respiratory symptoms.
  5. imagePurpose This study aimed to determine the glycemic responses to cardiopulmonary exercise testing (CPET) in individuals with type 1 diabetes (T1D) and to explore the influence of starting blood glucose (BG) concentrations on subsequent CPET outcomes. Methods This study was a retrospective, secondary analysis of pooled data from three randomized crossover trials using identical CPET protocols. During cycling, cardiopulmonary variables were measured continuously, with BG and lactate values obtained minutely via capillary earlobe sampling. Anaerobic threshold was determined using ventilatory parameters. Participants were split into (i) euglycemic ([Eu] >3.9 to ≤10.0 mmol·L−1, n = 26) and (ii) hyperglycemic ([Hyper] >10.0 mmol·L−1, n = 10) groups based on preexercise BG concentrations. Data were assessed via general linear modeling techniques and regression analyses. P values of ≤0.05 were accepted as significant. Results Data from 36 individuals with T1D (HbA1c, 7.3% ± 1.1% [56.0 ± 11.5 mmol·mol−1]) were included. BG remained equivalent to preexercise concentrations throughout CPET, with an overall change in BG of −0.32 ± 1.43 mmol·L−1. Hyper had higher HR at peak (+10 ± 2 bpm, P = 0.04) and during recovery (+9 ± 2 bpm, P = 0.038) as well as lower O2 pulse during the cool down period (−1.6 ± 0.04 mL per beat, P = 0.021). BG responses were comparable between glycemic groups. Higher preexercise BG led to greater lactate formation during exercise. HbA1c was inversely related to time to exhaustion (r = −0.388, P = 0.04) as well as peak power output (r = −0.355, P = 0.006) and O2 pulse (r = −0.308, P = 0.015). Conclusions This study demonstrated 1) stable BG responses to CPET in patients with T1D; 2) although preexercise hyperglycemia did not influence subsequent glycemic dynamics, it did potentiate alterations in various cardiac and metabolic responses to CPET; and 3) HbA1c was a significant factor in the determination of peak performance outcomes during CPET.
  6. imageBackground Skeletal muscle from lean and obese subjects elicits differential adaptations in response to exercise/muscle contractions. In order to determine whether obesity alters the adaptations in mitochondrial dynamics in response to exercise/muscle contractions and whether any of these distinct adaptations are linked to alterations in insulin sensitivity, we compared the effects of electrical pulse stimulation (EPS) on mitochondrial network structure and regulatory proteins in mitochondrial dynamics in myotubes from lean humans and humans with severe obesity and evaluated the correlations between these regulatory proteins and insulin signaling. Methods Myotubes from human skeletal muscle cells obtained from lean humans (body mass index, 23.8 ± 1.67 kg·m−2) and humans with severer obesity (45.5 ± 2.26 kg·m−2; n = 8 per group) were electrically stimulated for 24 h. Four hours after EPS, mitochondrial network structure, protein markers of insulin signaling, and mitochondrial dynamics were assessed. Results EPS enhanced insulin-stimulated AktSer473 phosphorylation, reduced the number of nonnetworked individual mitochondria, and increased the mitochondrial network size in both groups (P 0.05). Mitochondrial fusion marker mitofusin 2 was significantly increased in myotubes from the lean subjects (P 0.05) but reduced in subjects with severe obesity (P 0.05). In contrast, fission marker dynamin-related protein 1 (Drp1Ser616) was reduced in myotubes from subjects with severe obesity (P 0.05) but remained unchanged in lean subjects. Reductions in DrpSer616 phosphorylation were correlated with improvements in insulin-stimulated AktSer473 phosphorylation after EPS (r = −0.679, P = 0.004). Conclusions Our data demonstrated that EPS induces more fused mitochondrial networks, which are associated with differential adaptations in mitochondrial dynamic processes in myotubes from lean humans and human with severe obesity. It also suggests that improved insulin signaling after muscle contractions may be linked to the reduction in Drp1 activity.
  7. imagePurpose Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) is an inflammatory receptor expressed ubiquitously in immune cells as well as skeletal muscle and other metabolic tissues. Skeletal muscle develops favorable inflammation-mediated metabolic adaptations from exercise training. Multiple inflammatory myokines, downstream from TLR4, are proposed links to the metabolic benefits of exercise. In addition, activation of TLR4 alters skeletal muscle substrate preference. The role of skeletal muscle TLR4 (mTLR4) in exercise metabolism has not previously been investigated. Herein, we aimed to specifically test the significance of mTLR4 to exercise-induced metabolic adaptations. Methods We developed a novel muscle-specific TLR4 knockout (mTLR4−/−) mouse model on C57BL/6J background. Male mTLR4−/− mice and wild-type (WT) littermates were compared under sedentary (SED) and voluntary wheel running (WR) conditions for 4 wk. Results mTLR4 deletion revealed marked reductions in downstream interleukin-1 receptor-associated kinase-4 (IRAK4) phosphorylation. In addition, the disruption of mTLR4 signaling prominently blunted the metabolic adaptations in WR-mTLR4−/− mice as opposed to substantial improvements exhibited by the WT counterparts. Voluntary WR in WT mice, relative to SED, resulted in significant increases in skeletal muscle fatty acid oxidation, glucose oxidation, and associated mitochondrial enzyme activities, all of which were not significantly changed in mTLR4−/− mice. Conclusions This study introduces a novel mTLR4−/− mouse model and identifies mTLR4 as an immunomodulatory effector of exercise-induced metabolic adaptations in skeletal muscle.
  8. imageActive transportation is defined as self-propelled, human-powered transportation modes, such as walking and bicycling. In this article, we review the evidence that reliance on gasoline-powered transportation is contributing to global climate change, air pollution, and physical inactivity and that this is harmful to human health. Global climate change poses a major threat to human health and in the future could offset the health gains achieved over the last 100 yr. Based on hundreds of scientific studies, there is strong evidence that human-caused greenhouse gas emissions are contributing to global climate change. Climate change is associated with increased severity of storms, flooding, rising sea levels, hotter climates, and drought, all leading to increased morbidity and mortality. Along with increases in atmospheric CO2, other pollutants such as nitrogen dioxide, ozone, and particulate matter (e.g., PM2.5) are released by combustion engines and industry, which can lead to pulmonary and cardiovascular diseases. Also, as car ownership and vehicle miles traveled have increased, the shift toward motorized transport has contributed to physical inactivity. Each of these global challenges has resulted in, or is projected to result in, millions of premature deaths each year. One of the ways that nations can mitigate the health consequences of climate change, air pollution, and chronic diseases is through the use of active transportation. Research indicates that populations that rely heavily on active transportation enjoy better health and increased longevity. In summary, active transportation has tremendous potential to simultaneously address three global public health challenges of the 21st century.
  9. imagePurpose Physical activity benefits bone mass and cortical bone size. The current study assessed the impact of chronic (≥10 yr) physical activity on trabecular microarchitectural properties and microfinite element analyses of estimated bone strength. Methods Female collegiate-level tennis players (n = 15; age = 20.3 ± 0.9 yr) were used as a within-subject controlled model of chronic unilateral upper-extremity physical activity. Racquet-to-nonracquet arm differences at the distal radius and radial diaphysis were assessed using high-resolution peripheral quantitative computed tomography. The distal tibia and the tibial diaphysis in both legs were also assessed, and cross-country runners (n = 15; age = 20.8 ± 1.2 yr) included as controls. Results The distal radius of the racquet arm had 11.8% (95% confidence interval [CI] = 7.9% to 15.7%) greater trabecular bone volume/tissue volume, with trabeculae that were greater in number, thickness, connectivity, and proximity to each other than that in the nonracquet arm (all P 0.01). Combined with enhanced cortical bone properties, the microarchitectural advantages at the distal radius contributed a 18.7% (95% CI = 13.0% to 24.4%) racquet-to-nonracquet arm difference in predicted load before failure. At the radial diaphysis, predicted load to failure was 9.6% (95% CI = 6.7% to 12.6%) greater in the racquet versus nonracquet arm. There were fewer and smaller side-to-side differences at the distal tibia; however, the tibial diaphysis in the leg opposite the racquet arm was larger with a thicker cortex and had 4.4% (95% CI = 1.7% to 7.1%) greater strength than the contralateral leg. Conclusion Chronically elevated physical activity enhances trabecular microarchitecture and microfinite element estimated strength, furthering observations from short-term longitudinal studies. The data also demonstrate that tennis players exhibit crossed symmetry wherein the leg opposite the racquet arm possesses enhanced tibial properties compared with in the contralateral leg.
  10. imagePurpose Reductions in skeletal muscle mass, beginning after the third decade of life, reduce maximal neuromuscular power (Pmax). Maximal aerobic power generation is also reduced. The primary purpose of this study was to investigate the effectiveness of maximal power cycling (PC) training using an inertial load ergometer on skeletal muscle mass and cardiovascular function in untrained 50- to 68-yr-old participants. Methods The study used a pre- or postoutcome exercise intervention testing untrained 50- to 68-yr-old adults (n = 39, M = 15, mean ± SE = 58.5 ± 0.8, range = 50–68 yr). Over the course of 8 wk, participants performed 15 min of training 3 times per week. Each session involved repeated (15–30 times) 4-s sprints of PC. Measurements were thigh muscle volume, total body lean mass, Pmax, peak oxygen consumption, cardio-ankle vascular index, performance on functional tests of living (FTLChair and FTLRamp), and intermuscular fat volume. Results Training for 8 wk increased thigh muscle volume (3.7% ± 0.9%, P 0.001) and total body lean mass (1.5% ± 0.4%, P 0.01) while increasing total body mass (TBM) (1.4% ± 0.3%, P 0.01). Physical performance measures increased significantly (all P 0.05) with improvements in Pmax (12.0% ± 1.5%); peak oxygen consumption (9.8% ± 1.8%), and FTL (8.5% ± 1.3% to 17.2% ± 2%). Cardio-ankle vascular index was significantly decreased −2.3% ± 1.1% (P 0.05), indicating reduced arterial stiffness. Conclusions These results demonstrate that 8 wk of PC training at true maximal power was effective at increasing muscle mass and maximal power, as well as maximal cardiovascular capacity and functional tasks in untrained 50- to 68-yr-olds.
  11. imagePurpose Sprint interval training (SIT) has gained popularity as a time-effective alternative to moderate-intensity endurance training (END). However, whether SIT is equally effective for decreasing cardiometabolic risk factors remains debatable, as many beneficial effects of exercise are thought to be transient, and unlike END, SIT is not recommended daily. Therefore, in line with current exercise recommendations, we examined the ability of SIT and END to improve cardiometabolic health in overweight/obese males. Methods Twenty-three participants were randomized to perform 6 wk of constant workload SIT (3 d·wk−1, 4–6 × 30 s ~170% Wpeak, 2 min recovery, n = 12) or END (5 d·wk−1, 30–40 min, ~60% Wpeak, n = 11) on cycle ergometers. Aerobic capacity (V˙O2peak), body composition, blood pressure (BP), arterial stiffness, endothelial function, glucose and lipid tolerance, and free-living glycemic regulation were assessed pre- and posttraining. Results Both END and SIT increased V˙O2peak (END ~15%, SIT ~5%) and glucose tolerance (~20%). However, only END decreased diastolic BP, abdominal fat, and improved postprandial lipid tolerance, representing improvements in cardiovascular risk factors that did not occur after SIT. Although SIT, but not END, increased endothelial function, arterial stiffness was not altered in either group. Indices of free-living glycemic regulation were improved after END and trended toward an improvement after SIT (P = 0.06–0.09). However, glycemic control was better on exercise compared with rest days, highlighting the importance of exercise frequency. Furthermore, in an exploratory nature, favorable individual responses (V˙O2peak, BP, glucose tolerance, lipidemia, and body fat) were more prevalent after END than low-frequency SIT. Conclusion As only high-frequency END improved BP and lipid tolerance, free-living glycemic regulation was better on days that participants exercised, and favorable individual responses were consistent after END, high-frequency END may favorably improve cardiometabolic health.
  12. imagePurpose This study aimed to analyze the effect of resistance training (RT) performed until volitional failure with low, moderate, and high loads on muscle hypertrophy and muscle strength in healthy adults and to assess the possible participant-, design-, and training-related covariates that may affect the adaptations. Methods Using Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses guidelines, MEDLINE, CINAHL, EMBASE, SPORTDiscus, and Web of Science databases were searched. Including only studies that performed sets to volitional failure, the effects of low- (>15 repetitions maximum (RM)), moderate- (9–15 RM), and high-load (≤8 RM) RTs were examined in healthy adults. Network meta-analysis was undertaken to calculate the standardized mean difference (SMD) between RT loads in overall and subgroup analyses involving studies deemed of high quality. Associations between participant-, design-, and training-related covariates with SMD were assessed by univariate and multivariate network meta-regression analyses. Results Twenty-eight studies involving 747 healthy adults were included. Although no differences in muscle hypertrophy between RT loads were found in overall (P = 0.113–0.469) or subgroup analysis (P = 0.871–0.995), greater effects were observed in untrained participants (P = 0.033) and participants with some training background who undertook more RT sessions (P = 0.031–0.045). Muscle strength improvement was superior for both high-load and moderate-load compared with low-load RT in overall and subgroup analysis (SMD, 0.60–0.63 and 0.34–0.35, respectively; P 0.001–0.003), with a nonsignificant but superior effect for high compared with moderate load (SMD, 0.26–0.28, P = 0.068). Conclusions Although muscle hypertrophy improvements seem to be load independent, increases in muscle strength are superior in high-load RT programs. Untrained participants exhibit greater muscle hypertrophy, whereas undertaking more RT sessions provides superior gains in those with previous training experience.
  13. imagePurpose Recent studies identified a redistribution of positive mechanical work from distal to proximal joints during prolonged runs, which might partly explain the reduced running economy observed with running-induced fatigue. Higher mechanical demand of plantar flexor muscle–tendon units, for example, through minimal footwear, can lead to an earlier onset of fatigue, which might affect the redistribution of lower extremity joint work during prolonged runs. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to examine the effects of a racing flat and cushioned running shoe on the joint-specific contributions to lower extremity joint work during a prolonged fatiguing run. Methods On different days, 18 runners performed two 10-km runs with near-maximal effort in a racing flat and a cushioned shoe on an instrumented treadmill synchronized with a motion capture system. Joint kinetics and kinematics were calculated at 13 predetermined distances throughout the run. The effects of shoes, distance, and their interaction were analyzed using a two-factor repeated-measures ANOVA. Results For both shoes, we found a redistribution of positive joint work from the ankle (−6%) to the knee (+3%) and the hip (+3%) throughout the entire run. Negative ankle joint work was higher (P 0.01) with the racing flat compared with the cushioned shoe. Initial differences in foot strike patterns between shoes disappeared after 2 km of running distance. Conclusions Irrespective of the shoe design, alterations in the running mechanics occurred in the first 2 km of the run, which might be attributed to the existence of a habituation rather than fatigue effect. Although we did not find a difference between shoes in the fatigue-related redistribution of joint work from distal to more proximal joints, more systematical studies are needed to explore the effects of specific footwear design features.
  14. imagePurpose This study aimed 1) to determine whether talar cartilage deformation measured via ultrasonography (US) after standing and hopping loading protocols differs between chronic ankle instability (CAI) patients and healthy controls and 2) to determine whether the US measurement of cartilage deformation reflects viscoelasticity between standing and hopping protocols. Methods A total of 30 CAI and 30 controls participated. After a 60-min off-loading period, US images of the talar cartilage were acquired before and after static (2-min single-leg standing) and dynamic (60 single-leg forward hops) loading conditions. We calculated cartilage deformation by assessing the change in average thickness (mm) for overall, medial, and lateral talar cartilage. The independent variables include time (Pre60 and postloading), condition (standing and dynamic loading), and group (CAI and control). A three-way mixed-model repeated-measures ANCOVA and appropriate post hoc tests were used to compare cartilage deformation between the groups after static and dynamic loading. Results After the static loading condition, those with CAI had greater talar cartilage deformation compared with healthy individuals for overall (−10.87% vs −6.84%, P = 0.032) and medial (−12.98% vs −5.80%, P = 0.006) talar cartilage. Similarly, the CAI group had greater deformation relative to the control group for overall (−8.59% vs −3.46%, P = 0.038) and medial (−8.51% vs −3.31%, P = 0.043) talar cartilage after the dynamic loading condition. In the combined cohort, cartilage deformation was greater after static loading compared with dynamic in overall (−8.85% vs −6.03%, P = 0.003), medial (−9.38% vs −5.91%, P = 0.043), and lateral (−7.90% vs −5.65%, P = 0.009) cartilage. Conclusion US is capable of detecting differences in cartilage deformation between those with CAI and uninjured controls after standardized physiologic loads. Across both groups, our results demonstrate that static loading results in greater cartilage deformation compared with dynamic loading.
  15. imageIntroduction This study determined anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) force and its contributors during a standardized drop-land-lateral jump task using a validated computational model. Methods Three-dimensional whole-body kinematics, ground reaction forces, and muscle activation patterns from eight knee-spanning muscles were collected during dynamic tasks performed by healthy recreationally active females (n = 24). These data were used in a combined neuromusculoskeletal and ACL force model to determine lower limb muscle and ACL forces. Results Peak ACL force (2.3 ± 0.5 bodyweight) was observed at ~14% of stance during the drop-land-lateral jump. The ACL force was primarily generated through the sagittal plane, and muscle was the dominant source of ACL loading. The main ACL antagonists (i.e., loaders) were the gastrocnemii and quadriceps, whereas the hamstrings were the main ACL agonists (i.e., supporters). Conclusion Combining neuromusculoskeletal and ACL force models, the roles of muscle in ACL loading and support were determined during a challenging motor task. Results highlighted the importance of the gastrocnemius in ACL loading, which could be considered more prominently in ACL injury prevention and rehabilitation programs.