Epigenetic and “redoxogenetic” adaptation to physical exercise

Zsolt Radak*, Lang Pan, Lei Zhou, Soroosh Mozaffaritabar, Yaodong Gu, Ricardo A. Pinho, Xu Zheng, Xueqing Ba, Istvan Boldogh

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Exercise-induced adaptation is achieved by altering the epigenetic landscape of the entire genome leading to the expression of genes involved in various processes including regulatory, metabolic, adaptive, immune, and myogenic functions. Clinical and experimental data suggest that the methylation pattern/levels of promoter/enhancer is not linearly correlated with gene expression and proteome levels during physical activity implying a level of complexity and interplay with other regulatory modulators. It has been shown that a higher level of physical fitness is associated with a slower DNA methylation-based aging clock. There is strong evidence supporting exercise-induced ROS being a key regulatory mediator through overlapping events, both as signaling entities and through oxidative modifications to various protein mediators and DNA molecules. ROS generated by physical activity shapes epigenome both directly and indirectly, a complexity we are beginning to unravel within the epigenetic arrangement. Oxidative modification of guanine to 8-oxoguanine is a non-genotoxic alteration, does not distort DNA helix and serves as an epigenetic-like mark. The reader and eraser of oxidized guanine is the 8-oxoguanine DNA glycosylase 1, contributing to changes in gene expression. In fact, it can modulate methylation patterns of promoters/enhancers consequently leading to multiple phenotypic changes. Here, we provide evidence and discuss the potential roles of exercise-induced ROS in altering cytosine methylation patterns during muscle adaptation processes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)65-74
Number of pages10
JournalFree Radical Biology and Medicine
Publication statusPublished - 2024 Jan


  • 8-Oxoguanine DNA glycosylase 1
  • 8-oxoGua
  • Adaptation
  • Exercise
  • Methylation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Physiology (medical)


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