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J Appl Physiol (1985). 2013 Mar 1;114(5):681-93. doi: 10.1152/japplphysiol.00341.2012. Epub 2013 Jan 3.

Age and exercise training alter signaling through reactive oxygen species in the endothelium of skeletal muscle arterioles.

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  • 1Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, and the Center for Interdisciplinary Research in Cardiovascular Sciences, West Virginia University School of Medicine, Morgantown, West Virginia, USA.


Exercise training ameliorates age-related impairments in endothelium-dependent vasodilation in skeletal muscle arterioles. Additionally, exercise training is associated with increased superoxide production. The purpose of this study was to determine the role of superoxide and superoxide-derived reactive oxygen species (ROS) signaling in mediating endothelium-dependent vasodilation of soleus muscle resistance arterioles from young and old, sedentary and exercise-trained rats. Young (3 mo) and old (22 mo) male rats were either exercise trained or remained sedentary for 10 wk. To determine the impact of ROS signaling on endothelium-dependent vasodilation, responses to acetylcholine were studied under control conditions and during the scavenging of superoxide and/or hydrogen peroxide. To determine the impact of NADPH oxidase-derived ROS, endothelium-dependent vasodilation was determined following NADPH oxidase inhibition. Reactivity to superoxide and hydrogen peroxide was also determined. Tempol, a scavenger of superoxide, and inhibitors of NADPH oxidase reduced endothelium-dependent vasodilation in all groups. Similarly, treatment with catalase and simultaneous treatment with tempol and catalase reduced endothelium-dependent vasodilation in all groups. Decomposition of peroxynitrite also reduced endothelium-dependent vasodilation. Aging had no effect on arteriolar protein content of SOD-1, catalase, or glutathione peroxidase-1; however, exercise training increased protein content of SOD-1 in young and old rats, catalase in young rats, and glutathione peroxidase-1 in old rats. These data indicate that ROS signaling is necessary for endothelium-dependent vasodilation in soleus muscle arterioles, and that exercise training-induced enhancement of endothelial function occurs, in part, through an increase in ROS signaling.

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