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Leucine supplementation and resistance training positively influence the protein translation process and the cell signaling mTOR (mammalian target of rapamycin) pathway that regulates muscle protein balance and muscle remodeling, and thus may be therapeutic to diabetic myopathy. However, the effect of a combined intervention has not been well studied. Forty male Wistar rats were divided into five groups, control (C), diabetic control (D), diabetic + trained (DT), diabetic + L-leucine (DL), diabetic + L-leucine + trained (DLT). The supplementation of 5% leucine in chow, and resistance training were conducted for 8 weeks postweaning of rats. The extensor digitorum longus was used to assess signaling proteins involved in muscle protein synthesis, and the gastrocnemius and soleus were used for determination of muscle weight. Blood samples were collected for biochemical assays. Strength and ambulation tests were employed to evaluate motor performance. Results showed that both leucine supplementation and resistance training elevated the activity of mTOR-p70S6K in diabetic rats (P < 0.05). Moreover, though leucine supplementation in combination with resistance training demonstrated synergistic effects on p70S6K (P < 0.05), both treatments were capable of recovering motor performance (P < 0.05). In conclusion, 5% leucine supplementation combined with resistance training has the potential to attenuate muscle loss and motor performance decrements in diabetic rats, at least in part through increased protein synthesis.


This article was originally published in Physiological Reports, available at DOI: 10.14814/phy2.13273.

This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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