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BioMed Research International
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 480620, 9 pages
Research Article

Effect of Intermittent Low-Frequency Electrical Stimulation on the Rat Gastrocnemius Muscle

1Graduate School of Health and Sport Science, Nippon Sport Science University, 7-1-1 Fukazawa, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo 158-8508, Japan
2Faculty of Sport and Health Science, Ritsumeikan University, Shiga, Japan

Received 28 March 2013; Revised 1 June 2013; Accepted 12 June 2013

Academic Editor: Ashraf S. Gorgey

Copyright © 2013 Arata Tsutaki et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Low-frequency neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES) has been used as an endurance exercise model. This study aimed to test whether low-frequency NMES increases the phosphorylation of anabolic signaling molecules and induces skeletal muscle hypertrophy, as seen with high-frequency NMES. Using Sprague-Dawley rats, 1 bout of exercise (with dissection done immediately (Post0) and 3 h (Post3) after exercise) and another 6 sessions of training were performed. All experimental groups consisted of high- and low-frequency stimulation (HFS: 100 Hz; LFS: 10 Hz). Periodic acid-Schiff (PAS) staining was conducted to investigate type II fiber activation, and western blot analysis (WB) was conducted to examine whether NMES leads to anabolic intracellular signaling. At first, we examined the acute effect of exercise. PAS staining revealed that glycogen depletion occurred in both type I and type II fibers. WB results demonstrated that p70S6K phosphorylation was significantly increased by HFS, but there was no significant difference with LFS. In contrast, ERK 1/2 phosphorylation was increased by LFS at Post0. In the 6-session training, the wet weight and myofibrillar protein were significantly increased by both HFS and LFS. In conclusion, LFS has a similar anabolic effect for skeletal muscle hypertrophy as HFS, but the mediating signaling pathway might differ.