This study was designed to evaluate the possibility that the enhanced insulin sensitivity of physically trained normal and diabetic rats is due to adaptive changes in the adrenergicsystem. Mild diabetes mellitus was induced in male Wistar rats with streptozocin (STZ, 45 mg/kg i.v.) and a 10-wk conditioning program was conducted by having the animals run on a treadmill.Rats were cannulated 16 h after the last period of exercise and blood sampling was obtained 48 h later for basal plasma glucose, insulin, epinephrine, and norepinephrine determination. Catecholamine measurements were also made in adrenals, atria, and ventricles from sedentary control, trained control, sedentary diabetic, and trained diabetic rats. The previously reported beneficial effect of physical training on diabetes mellitus was reproduced. While diabetes mellitus did not modify the catecholamine levels, the training program provoked an increase in plasma epinephrine concentrations, with a concomitant significant rise in adrenal epinephrine content. In heart tissue,the epinephrine values also tended to be increased by training although statistical significance was not reached. These data suggest that basal secretion of epinephrine is somewhat increased in trained rats. Whether this may trigger adaptive changes that could be involved in the beneficial effect of physical training on experimental diabetes mellitus remains to be elucidated.

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