Alteration of antioxidant enzymes with aging in rat skeletal muscle and liver

L. L. Ji, D. Dillon, E. Wu

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Maximal activities of antioxidant enzymes involved in oxygen free radical metabolism in skeletal muscle and liver were investigated in 4-, 26-, and 31-mo-old male Wistar-Furth rat at rest and after a single bout of treadmill exercise. In skeletal muscle, cytosolic (Cu-Zn) and mitochondrial (Mn) superoxide dismutase (SOD) specific activities were significantly higher in the aged rats and at 31 mo reached 135 and 218%, respectively, of those at 4 mo. Resting catalase activity was doubled at 31 mo compared with that at 4 mo. Glutathione peroxidase (GPX) activity increased twofold in muscle cysotol and by 47% in mitochondria of aged rats. Glutathione S-transferase (GST), glutathione reductase (GR), and glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G-6-PHD) activities in muscle were also significantly elevated. Hepatic antioxidant enzymes were altered significantly with aging. Cytosolic SOD and GST activities were decreased, whereas mitochondrial GPX, GR, and G-6-PDH activities were increased. Lipid peroxidation was greater in skeletal muscle homogenate and mitochondria but lower in liver homogenate in the aged rats. An acute exercise bout had little effect on muscle or liver antioxidant enzymes regardless of the animal's age. It is concluded that aging is accompanied with an elevation of antioxidant enzyme activities and lipid peroxidation in skeletal muscle probably due to the increased oxygen free radical production and reaction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)R918-R923
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Regulatory Integrative and Comparative Physiology
Issue number4 27-4
StatePublished - 1990


  • lipid peroxidation
  • oxygen free radicals


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