Normal adaptations to exercise despite protection against oxidative stress

Kazuhiko Higashida, Sang Hyun Kim, Mitsuru Higuchi, John O. Holloszy, Dong Ho Han*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

117 Citations (Scopus)


It has been reported that supplementation with the antioxidant vitamins C and E prevents the adaptive increases in mitochondrial biogenesis and GLUT4 expression induced by endurance exercise. We reevaluated the effects of these antioxidants on the adaptive responses of rat skeletal muscle to swimming in a short-term study consisting of 9 days of vitamins C and E with exercise during the last 3 days and a longer-term study consisting of 8 wk of antioxidant vitamins with exercise during the last 3 wk. The rats in the antioxidant groups were given 750 mg·kg body wt -1·day -1vitamin C and 150 mg·kg body wt -1·day -1 vitamin E. In rats euthanized immediately after exercise, plasma TBARs were elevated in the control rats but not in the antioxidant-supplemented rats, providing evidence for an antioxidant effect. In rats euthanized 18 h after exercise there were large increases in insulin responsiveness of glucose transport in epitrochlearis muscles mediated by an approximately twofold increase in GLUT4 expression in both the short- and long-term treatment groups. The protein levels of a number of mitochondrial marker enzymes were also increased about twofold. Superoxide dismutases (SOD) 1 and 2 were increased about twofold in triceps muscle after 3 days of exercise, but only SOD2 was increased after 3 wk of exercise. There were no differences in the magnitudes of any of these adaptive responses between the control and antioxidant groups. These results show that very large doses of antioxidant vitamins do not prevent the exercise-induced adaptive responses of muscle mitochondria, GLUT4, and insulin action to exercise and have no effect on the level of these proteins in sedentary rats.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2011 Nov
Externally publishedYes


  • α-tocopherol
  • Ascorbic acid
  • Coactivator-1 α
  • Mitochondria
  • Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-γ
  • Superoxide dismutase

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism


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