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J Muscle Res Cell Motil. 2001;22(4):345-51.

Age and sex influence on oxidative damage and functional status in human skeletal muscle.

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  • 1Laboratorio Interuniversitario di Miologia, Università G. D'Annunzio, Chieti, Italy.


A reduction in muscle mass, with consequent decrease in strength and resistance, is commonly observed with advancing age. In this study we measured markers of oxidative damage to DNA, lipids and proteins, some antioxidant enzyme activities as well Ca2+ transport in sarcoplasmic reticulum membranes in muscle biopsies from vastus lateralis of young and elderly healthy subjects of both sexes in order to evaluate the presence of age- and sex-related differences. We found a significant increase in oxidation of DNA and lipids in the elderly group, more evident in males, and a reduction in catalase and glutathione transferase activities. The experiments on Ca2+ transport showed an abnormal functional response of aged muscle after exposure to caffeine, which increases the opening of Ca2+ channels, as well a reduced activity of the Ca2+ pump in elderly males. From these results we conclude that oxidative stress play an important role in muscle aging and that oxidative damage is much more evident in elderly males, suggesting a gender difference maybe related to hormonal factors.

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