J Appl Physiol (1985). 2015 Dec 1;119(11):1297-302
It is known that repeated bouts of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) lead to enhanced levels of glycolysis, glycogenesis, and lactate transport proteins in skeletal muscle; however, little is known about the molecular mechanisms underlying these adaptations. To decipher the mechanism leading to improvement of skeletal muscle glycolytic capacity associated with HIIT, we examined the role of hypoxia-inducible factor-1α (Hif-1α), the major transcription factor regulating the expression of genes related to anaerobic metabolism, in the adaptation to HIIT. First, we induced Hif-1α accumulation using ethyl 3,4-dihydroxybenzoate (EDHB) to assess the potential role of Hif-1α in skeletal muscle. Treatment with EDHB significantly increased the protein levels of Hif-1α in gastrocnemius muscles, accompanied by elevated expression of genes related to glycolysis, glycogenesis, and lactate transport. Daily administration of EDHB for 1 wk resulted in elevated glycolytic enzyme activity in gastrocnemius muscles. Second, we examined whether a single bout of HIIT could induce Hif-1α protein accumulation and subsequent increase in the expression of genes related to anaerobic metabolism in skeletal muscle. We observed that the protein levels of Hif-1α and expression of the target genes were elevated 3 h after an acute bout of HIIT in gastrocnemius muscles. Last, we examined the effects of long-term HIIT. We found that long-term HIIT increased the basal levels of Hif-1α as well as the glycolytic capacity in gastrocnemius muscles. Our results suggest that Hif-1α is a key regulator in the metabolic adaptation to high-intensity training.