Heat Acclimation in Females Does Not Limit Aerobic Exercise Training Outcomes

Mark L. McGlynn, Christopher Collins, Walter Hailes, Brent Ruby, Dustin Slivka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Recent aerobic exercise training in the heat has reported blunted aerobic power improvements and reduced mitochondrial-related gene expression in men. It is unclear if this heat-induced blunting of the training response exists in females. The purpose of the present study was to determine the impact of 60 min of cycling in the heat over three weeks on thermoregulation, gene expression, and aerobic capacity in females. Untrained females (n = 22; 24 ± 4yoa) were assigned to three weeks of aerobic training in either 20C (n = 12) or 33C (n = 10; 40%RH). Maximal aerobic capacity (39.5 ± 6.5 to 41.5 ± 6.2 mL·kg−1·min−1, p = 0.021, ηp2 = 0.240, 95% CI [0.315, 3.388]) and peak aerobic power (191.0 ± 33.0 to 206.7 ± 27.2 W, p < 0.001, ηp2 = 0.531, 95% CI [8.734, 22.383]) in-creased, while the absolute-intensity trial (50%VO2peak) HR decreased (152 ± 15 to 140 ± 13 b·min−1, p < 0.001, ηp2 = 0.691, 95% CI [15.925, 8.353]), but they were not different between temperatures (p = 0.440, p = 0.955, p = 0.341, respectively). Independent of temperature, Day 22 tolerance trial skin temperatures decreased from Day 1 (p = 0.006, ηp2 = 0.319, 95% CI [1.408, 0.266), but training did not influence core temperature (p = 0.598). Average sweat rates were higher in the 33C group vs. the 20C group (p = 0.008, ηp2 = 0.303, 95% CI [67.9, 394.9]) but did not change due to training (p = 0.571). Pre-training PGC-1α mRNA increased 4h-post-exercise (5.29 ± 0.70 fold change, p < 0.001), was lower post-training (2.69 ± 0.22 fold change, p = 0.004), and was not different between temperatures (p = 0.455). While training induced some diminished transcriptional stimulus, generally the training temperature had little effect on genes related to mitochondrial biogenesis, mitophagy, and metabolic enzymes. These female participants increased aerobic fitness and maintained an exercise-induced PGC-1α mRNA response in the heat equal to that of room temperature conditions, contrasting with the blunted responses previously observed in men.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number5554
JournalInternational journal of environmental research and public health
Volume19
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1 2022

Keywords

  • gene expression
  • mitochondrial biogenesis
  • mRNA
  • PGC-1α
  • thermoregulation
  • VO

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

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