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Br J Nutr. 2006 Aug;96 Suppl 1:S31-3.

Oxidative stress in marathon runners: interest of antioxidant supplementation.

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Catholic University of Valencia, Spain.


We have recently reported that xanthine oxidase is involved in the generation of free radicals in exhaustive exercise. Allopurinol, an inhibitor of xanthine oxidase, prevents it. The aim of the present work was to elucidate the role of exercise-derived reactive oxygen species in the cell signalling pathways involved in the adaptation to exercise in man. We have found that exercise causes an increase in the activity of plasma xanthine oxidase and an activation of NF-kappaB in peripheral blood lymphocytes after marathon running. This activation is dependent on free radical formation in exercise: treatment with allopurinol completely prevents it. In animal models, we previously showed that NF-kappaB activation induced by exhaustive physical exercise leads to an increase in the expression of superoxide dismutase, an enzyme involved in antioxidant defence. We report evidence in man that reactive oxygen species act as signals in exercise as decreasing their formation prevents activation of important signalling pathways which can cause useful adaptations in cells.

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