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The effect of a novel low-volume aerobic exercise intervention on liver fat in type 2 diabetes: a randomised controlled trial

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posted on 30.07.2020 by Angelo Sabag, Kimberley L. Way, Rachelle N. Sultana, Shelley E. Keating, James A. Gerofi, Vivienne H. Chuter, Nuala M. Byrne, Michael K. Baker, Jacob George, Ian D. Caterson, Stephen M. Twigg, Nathan A. Johnson
Objective: The aim of this study was to examine the effect of a novel low-volume high-intensity interval training (HIIT), moderate-intensity continuous training (MICT) or placebo (PLA) intervention on liver fat, glycaemia, and cardiorespiratory fitness using a randomised placebo-controlled design.

Research design and methods: Thirty-five inactive adults (54.6±1.4 years, 54% male; BMI 35.9±0.9kg/m2) with obesity and type 2 diabetes were randomised to 12 weeks of supervised: MICT (n=12) at 60% VO2peak for 45 minutes, 3 days/week, HIIT (n=12) at 90% VO2peak for 4 minutes, 3 days/week, or PLA (n=11). Liver fat % was quantified via proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy.

Results: Liver fat reduced in MICT (-0.9±0.7%) and HIIT (-1.7±1.1%) but increased in PLA (1.2±0.5%) (p = 0.046). HbA1c improved in MICT (-0.3±0.3%) and in HIIT (-0.3±0.3%) but not in PLA (0.5±0.2%) (p=0.014). Cardiorespiratory fitness improved in MICT (2.3±1.2 ml/kg/min) and HIIT (1.1±0.5 ml/kg/min) but not in PLA (-1.5±0.9 ml/kg/min) (p=0.006).

Conclusions: MICT or a low-volume HIIT approach involving 12 minutes of weekly high-intensity exercise may improve liver fat, glycaemia, and cardiorespiratory fitness in type 2 diabetes in the absence of weight loss. Further studies are required to elucidate the relationship between exercise-induced reductions in liver fat and improvements in glycaemia.

Funding

This research was supported by funding from the Collaborative Research Network for Advancing Exercise & Sports Science (CRN-AESS)/Research Capacity Building Seeding Grant Scheme.

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