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Sports Med. 2008;38(7):579-606.

The effect of muscle-damaging exercise on blood and skeletal muscle oxidative stress: magnitude and time-course considerations.

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Institute of Human Performance and Rehabilitation, Center for Research and Technology-Thessaly, Trikala, Greece.


The aim of this article is to present the effects of acute muscle-damaging exercise on oxidative stress/damage of animal and human tissues using a quantitative approach and focusing on the time-course of exercise effects. The reviewed studies employed eccentric contractions on a dynamometer or downhill running. The statistical power of each study to detect a 20% or 40% post-exercise change compared with pre-exercise value in each oxidative stress/damage biomarker was calculated. Muscle-damaging exercise can increase free radical levels and augment oxidation of lipids, proteins, glutathione and possibly DNA in the blood. In contrast, the effect of muscle-damaging exercise on concentration of antioxidants in the blood, except for glutathione, was little. Muscle-damaging exercise induces oxidative stress/damage in skeletal muscle, even though this is not fully supported by the original statistical analysis of some studies. In contrast, muscle-damaging exercise does not appear to affect--at least to similar extent as the oxidative stress/damage markers--the levels of antioxidants in skeletal muscle. Based on the rather limited data available, the oxidative stress response of skeletal muscle to exercise was generally independent of muscle fibre type. Most of the changes in oxidative stress/damage appeared and were sustained for days after muscle-damaging exercise. The major part of the delayed oxidative stress/damage production that follows muscle-damaging exercise probably comes from phagocytic cells that are activated and recruited to the site of the initial damage. A point that emerged and potentially explains much of the lack of consensus among studies is the low statistical power of many of them. In summary, muscle-damaging exercise can increase oxidative stress/damage in blood and skeletal muscle of rats and humans that may persist for and/or appear several days after exercise.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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