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Resistance Training and Testosterone After Spinal Cord Injury

This study is ongoing, but not recruiting participants.
Virginia Commonwealth University
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
VA Office of Research and Development Identifier:
First received: July 13, 2012
Last updated: February 7, 2017
Last verified: February 2017
The goal of this proposal is to investigate the efficacy of a complimentary approach of evoked resistance training and testosterone replacement therapy on the changes in body composition and metabolic profile after SCI. The proposed method could become a recommended and simple intervention especially for individuals with limited access and poor tolerance to exercise. The rationale is based on the evidence that individuals with SCI experience decline in anabolic hormones which may be responsible for the deterioration in body composition and metabolic profiles and leads to increase obesity, type 2 diabetes mellitus, dyslipidemia and subsequently cardiovascular disease. The designed study will provide explanation to the adaptations in the energy source of the muscle cells in response to training.

Condition Intervention
Spinal Cord Injury
Procedure: Resistance Training and Testosterone Patches
Drug: Testosterone Patches

Study Type: Interventional
Study Design: Allocation: Randomized
Intervention Model: Factorial Assignment
Masking: No masking
Primary Purpose: Health Services Research
Official Title: Effects of Evoked Resistance Training and Testosterone After Spinal Cord Injury

Resource links provided by NLM:

Further study details as provided by VA Office of Research and Development:

Primary Outcome Measures:
  • Body Composition [ Time Frame: 16 weeks ]
    Changes in body composition fat mass

Secondary Outcome Measures:
  • Metabolic Profile [ Time Frame: 16 weeks ]
    Glucose, lipid, inflammatory biomarkers, Basal Metabolic Rate

Estimated Enrollment: 24
Study Start Date: July 2012
Estimated Study Completion Date: June 2017
Primary Completion Date: December 2016 (Final data collection date for primary outcome measure)
Arms Assigned Interventions
Experimental: RT+Tp
Resistance training using electrical stimulation and ankle weights and Testosterone patches
Procedure: Resistance Training and Testosterone Patches
We are going to activate the knee extensor muscle group to lift ankle weights over 16 weeks and we are going to provide Tp to improve anabolic profile.
Experimental: Tp
Applying Testosterone patches
Drug: Testosterone Patches
The investigators will provide Tp patches for 16 weeks for patients with Spinal Cord Injury.

Detailed Description:

Individuals with spinal cord injury (SCI) are at a lifelong risk of increasing obesity and several chronic metabolic disorders such as glucose intolerance, insulin resistance and dyslipidemia secondary to deterioration in body composition. Within few weeks of injury, there are significant decrease in whole body fat-free mass (FFM), particularly lower extremity skeletal muscle mass and subsequent increase in fat mass (FM). Resistance training (RT) is an important type of exercise that has been shown to induce positive physiological adaptations such as increasing lean mass and reducing metabolic disorders in other clinical populations.

In a pilot work, the investigators provided evidence that evoked RT using surface neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES) for knee extensor muscle group resulted in significant increase skeletal muscle cross-sectional area (CSA), reduction in % leg FM and a trend towards decrease in visceral adipose tissue (VAT) CSA. The favorable adaptations in body composition were associated with decrease in plasma insulin area under the curve and plasma triglycerides. The investigators attributed the adaptations in body composition and metabolic profile to an associated increase in plasma insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1). The investigators concluded that twelve weeks of evoked RT targeted towards evoking skeletal muscle hypertrophy could result in significant body composition and metabolic adaptations in individuals with SCI.

It is unclear if a longer RT program greater than 12 weeks would provide additional benefits to Veterans with SCI. It is also unknown whether enhancing the decline anabolic homeostasis by providing testosterone (T) replacement therapy (TRT) would reverse body composition and metabolic profile changes in Veterans with SCI. The major research goal of this proposal is to investigate the effects of 16 weeks of evoked RT+TRT vs. TRT on body composition (muscle CSA, VAT, %FM) and the metabolic profiles (glucose and lipid metabolism) in individuals with motor complete SCI. To address this goal, surface NMES accompanied with ankle weights will be conducted twice weekly to exercise the knee extensor skeletal muscle groups from sitting position. After 4 weeks of delayed entry approach, participants (n =24) will be randomly assigned into RT+TRT (n =12) or TRT (n =12) groups. The TRT will be provided via transdermal T patches that will be alternated on both shoulders over the course of the study. The investigators also propose to study the effects of detraining on body composition and metabolic profiles.

The research plan includes three specific aims

Specific aim 1 will demonstrate the effects of NMES RT and/or Testosterone patches (Tp) on the CSA of thighs and legs skeletal muscle groups, percentage FFM, and the CSA of VAT, intramuscular fat and percentage FM after 16 weeks of training+Tp and 16 weeks of detraining.

Specific aim 2 will determine the changes in metabolic milieu (resting energy expenditure, glucose homeostasis, lipid profile, free fatty acids, serum total and free testosterone and IGF-1), and cytokines (c-reactive protein, tumor necrosis factor alpha and IL-6 as inflammatory biomarkers) after 16 weeks of training+Tp and detraining.

Specific aim 3 will determine if 16 weeks of evoked RT and Tp will increase GLUT-4 concentration, muscle IGF-1 and peroxisome-proliferator-activated receptor-gamma co-activator 1 (PGC-1) expressions, altered fiber type distribution and enhance the mitochondrial enzymatic activities (electron transport chain) compared to Tp only.


Ages Eligible for Study:   18 Years to 50 Years   (Adult)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   Male
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   No

Inclusion Criteria:

  • Male with Spinal Cord Injury
  • Between 18-50 years old
  • BMI < 30 Kg/m2
  • Traumatic motor complete C5-L2 level of injury
  • American Spinal Injury Classification (A and B; i.e. motor deficit below the level of injury)

Exclusion Criteria:

  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Uncontrolled type II DM and those on insulin
  • Pressures sores stage 2 or greater
  • Supra-physiological T level
  • Hematocrit above 50%
  • Urinary tract infection or symptoms
  Contacts and Locations
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Please refer to this study by its identifier: NCT01652040

United States, Virginia
Hunter Holmes McGuire VA Medical Center, Richmond, VA
Richmond, Virginia, United States, 23249
Sponsors and Collaborators
VA Office of Research and Development
Virginia Commonwealth University
Principal Investigator: Ashraf Gorgey, PhD PT Hunter Holmes McGuire VA Medical Center, Richmond, VA
  More Information

Responsible Party: VA Office of Research and Development Identifier: NCT01652040     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: B7867-W
Study First Received: July 13, 2012
Last Updated: February 7, 2017
Individual Participant Data  
Plan to Share IPD: Undecided

Keywords provided by VA Office of Research and Development:
Spinal Cord Injury
Electrical Stimulation
Body Composition
Lipid and Glucose profile
Ectopic Adiposity

Additional relevant MeSH terms:
Wounds and Injuries
Spinal Cord Injuries
Spinal Cord Diseases
Central Nervous System Diseases
Nervous System Diseases
Trauma, Nervous System
Testosterone enanthate
Testosterone undecanoate
Testosterone 17 beta-cypionate
Hormones, Hormone Substitutes, and Hormone Antagonists
Physiological Effects of Drugs
Antineoplastic Agents, Hormonal
Antineoplastic Agents
Anabolic Agents processed this record on April 28, 2017