Influence of exercise and fiber type on antioxidant enzyme activity in rat skeletal muscle

S. K. Powers, D. Criswell, J. Lawler, Li Ji Li Li Ji, D. Martin, R. A. Herb, G. Dudley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

294 Scopus citations


These experiments examined the influence of exercise intensity and duration on antioxidant enzyme activity in locomotor muscles differing in fiber type composition. Nine groups of female Sprague-Dawley rats (age 120 days) exercised 4 days/wk on a motor-driven treadmill for 10 wk. The impact of three levels of exercise intensity (low, moderate, and high: ~55, ~65, and ~75% of maximal oxygen consumption, respectively) and exercise duration (30, 60, and 90 min/day) was assessed. Sedentary animals served as controls. Oxidative capacity in the soleus and white and red gastrocnemius was assessed by measurement of citrate synthase (CS) activity, and antioxidant capacity was evaluated by assay of total superoxide dismutase, catalase, and total glutathione peroxidase (GPX) activities. In all muscles, CS activity increased as a function of exercise duration. Furthermore, in the soleus and white gastrocnemius, the magnitude of the training-induced increase in CS activity was directly related to exercise intensity. In contrast, the peak increase in CS activity in the red gastrocnemius was relatively independent of exercise intensity. Catalase activity was not increased (P > 0.05) in any muscle with training. Training-induced changes in superoxide dismutase and GPX activities were muscle specific; specifically, exercise training significantly (P < 0.05) increased superoxide dismutase activity in the soleus as a function of exercise duration up to 60 min/day. Conversely, training-induced significant (P < 0.05) increases in GPX activity occurred in red gastrocnemius only; the magnitude of the GPX increase was directly related to exercise duration but relatively independent of intensity. These data demonstrate that exercise training-induced changes in muscle antioxidant enzymes are muscle specific.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)R375-R380
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Regulatory Integrative and Comparative Physiology
Issue number2 35-2
StatePublished - 1994
Externally publishedYes


  • catalase
  • free radicals
  • glutathione peroxidase
  • superoxide dismutase


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