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Am J Physiol. 1999 Sep;277(3):R856-62. doi: 10.1152/ajpregu.1999.277.3.R856.

Superoxide dismutase gene expression in skeletal muscle: fiber-specific adaptation to endurance training.

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Department of Kinesiology and Interdisciplinary Nutritional Sciences, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, Wisconsin 53706, USA.


The effects of endurance training on the enzyme activity, protein content, and mRNA abundance of Mn and CuZn superoxide dismutase (SOD) were studied in various phenotypes of rat skeletal muscle. Female Sprague-Dawley rats were randomly divided into trained (T, n = 8) and untrained (U, n = 8) groups. Training, consisting of treadmill running at 27 m/min and 12% grade for 2 h/day, 5 days/wk for 10 wk, significantly increased citrate synthase activity (P < 0. 01) in the type I (soleus), type IIa (deep vastus lateralis, DVL), and mixed type II (plantaris) muscles but not in type IIb (superficial vastus lateralis, SVL) muscle. Mitochondrial (Mn) SOD activity was elevated by 80% (P < 0.05) with training in DVL. SVL and plantaris muscle in T rats showed 54 and 42% higher pooled immunoreactive Mn SOD protein content, respectively, than those in U rats. However, no change in Mn SOD mRNA level was found in any of the muscles. CuZn SOD activity, protein content, and mRNA level in general were not affected by training, except for a 160% increase in pooled CuZn SOD protein in SVL. Training also significantly increased glutathione peroxidase and catalase activities (P < 0.05), but only in DVL muscle. These data indicate that training adaptations of Mn SOD and other antioxidant enzymes occur primarily in type IIa fibers, probably as a result of enhanced free radical generation and modest antioxidant capacity. Differential training responses of mRNA, enzyme protein, and activity suggest that separate cellular signals may control pre- and posttranslational regulation of SOD.

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