The aim of the present study was to observe the changes in the muscle tissue of rats after application of growth hormone (GH) and performing a strength training protocol (ST). In total, 40 male Wistar rats, 60 days old, were used, divided into four groups: control (C), control and application of GH (GHC), strength training (T), and strength training with the application of GH (GHT). The physical training protocol (PT) was composed of four series of 10 jumps in water, 3x/week, with an overload of 50 % of body weight for four weeks. GH was administered intraperitoneally at a dose of 0.2 IU/Kg to the GHC and GHT groups and saline (0.9 % sodium chloride) to the C and T groups. After four weeks of PT, the animals were euthanized and samples taken from the Soleus muscle. Histological sections were produced with a thickness of 5 mm and stained with hematoxylin-eosin (HE) and nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide tetrazolium reductase (NADH-TR). The markings for determining the measurement of the smallest diameter of muscle fibers (MF) were carried out using the software (AuxioVisionRel 4.8-Carl Zeiss® and NIS-Elements D3.0-SP7-Nikon®). After obtaining the data, the Shapiro-Wilk test for normality was performed and then the nonparametric Kruskal-Wallis with Dunn post-test were used for analysis of MF and the Student t test for the analysis of intragroup body weights. All procedures adopted a 5 % significance value (p <0.05) and were performed using the software SPSS 22.0 for Windows®. It was observed that both the GH and PT were able to generate increased diameter of MF (C:31.81±6.35; GHC:36.88±6.38; T:38.38± 6.94; GHT:36.89±7.16). Moreover, when analyzing the type, a significant increase was found only in the fast twitch MF (C:33.78±7.78; GHC:37.80±6.03; T:38.53±6.94; GHT:37.98±7.65) when compared to the slow twitch (C:25.93±6.66; GHC:26.95±8.03; T:26.24±6.90; GHT:27.20±5.77).
KEY WORDS: Growth hormone; Striated Muscle; Orthopedics; Physical Education and Training; Endocrinology.