Exercise-induced hormesis and skeletal muscle health

Li Li Ji, Chounghun Kang, Yong Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


Hormesis refers to the phenomenon that an exposure or repeated exposures of a toxin can elicit adaptive changes within the organism to resist to higher doses of toxin with reduced harm. Skeletal muscle shows considerable plasticity and adaptions in response to a single bout of acute exercise or chronic training, especially in antioxidant defense capacity and metabolic functions mainly due to remodeling of mitochondria. It has thus been hypothesized that contraction-induced production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) may stimulate the hormesis-like adaptations. Furthermore, there has been considerable evidence that select ROS such as hydrogen peroxide and nitric oxide, or even oxidatively degraded macromolecules, may serve as signaling molecules to stimulate such hermetic adaptations due to the activation of redox-sensitive signaling pathways. Recent research has highlighted the important role of nuclear factor (NF) κB, mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK), and peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor γ co-activator 1α (PGC-1α), along with other newly discovered signaling pathways, in some of the most vital biological functions such as mitochondrial biogenesis, antioxidant defense, inflammation, protein turnover, apoptosis, and autophagy. The inability of the cell to maintain proper redox signaling underlies mechanisms of biological aging, during which inflammatory and catabolic pathways prevail. Research evidence and mechanisms connecting exercise-induced hormesis and redox signaling are reviewed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)113-122
Number of pages10
JournalFree Radical Biology and Medicine
StatePublished - Sep 1 2016

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work is supported in part by the National Science Foundation of China major International Collaboration Project No. 31110103919.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016

Copyright 2017 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Aging
  • Antioxidant
  • Exercise
  • Hormesis
  • Muscle
  • Redox signaling

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Exercise-induced hormesis and skeletal muscle health'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this