Rigorous swim training impairs mitochondrial function in post-ischaemic rat heart

S. B. Leichtweis, C. Leeuwenburgh, D. J. Parmelee, R. Fiebig, L. L. Ji

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The effect of rigorous swim training (6 h day-1, 5 days week-1 for an average of 191 h) on mitochondrial respiratory function was investigated in rat heart subjected to in vivo ischaemia reperfusion (I-R). Mitochondria was isolated from the risk region of the left ventricle subjected to 60 min occlusion of the main left coronary artery followed by 30 min reperfusion. Heart weight and heart-to-body weight ratio was increased by 21 and 28% (P < 0.01), respectively, in the trained (T, n = 15) vs. control rats (C, n = 20). I-R per se showed minimal effect on heart mitochondria regardless of training status. In sham, state 4 respiration rate was 26 and 32% (P < 0.05) lower in T vs. C rats, using malate-pyruvate (M-P) and 2-oxoglutarate (OG) as substrates, respectively. Training also reduced state 3 respiration by 28% (M-P) and 50% (OG) (P < 0.01). The respiratory control index (RCI) was unaltered in T with M-P, but decreased with OG (P < 0.01). In vitro exposure to superoxide radicals severely reduced state 4 and 3 respiration and RCI, but T hearts showed greater reductions of state 4 and 3 rates than C. Mitochondria from T hearts also revealed a greater state 4 inhibition by H2O2 and HO. compared with C. A lower glutathione content and a higher γ-glutamyltranspeptidase activity (P < 0.05) was observed in T vs. C. It is concluded that rigorous swim training impairs heart mitochondrial function, making them more susceptible to in vivo and in vitro oxidative stress, and that this damaging effect may be related to a diminished glutathione reserve.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)139-148
Number of pages10
JournalActa Physiologica Scandinavica
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1997


  • Glutathione
  • Heart
  • Ischemia-reperfusion
  • Mitochondrial respiration
  • Oxidative damage
  • Training


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