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J Appl Physiol (1985). 2013 Oct 15;115(8):1146-55. doi: 10.1152/japplphysiol.00225.2013. Epub 2013 Aug 15.

L-Arginine supplementation improves antioxidant defenses through L-arginine/nitric oxide pathways in exercised rats.

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Department of Biochemistry Pharmacy, School of Chemistry and Life Science, SuZhou University, SuZhou, China.


l-Arginine (l-Arg) supplementation has been shown to enhance physical exercise capacity and delay onset of fatigue. This work investigated the potential beneficial mechanism(s) of l-Arg supplementation by examining its effect on the cellular oxidative and nitrosative stress pathways in the exercised rats. Forty-eight rats were randomly divided into six groups: sedentary control; sedentary control with l-Arg treatment; endurance training (daily swimming training for 8 wk) control; endurance training with l-Arg treatment; an exhaustive exercise (one time swimming to fatigue) control; and an exhaustive exercise with l-Arg treatment. l-Arg (500 mg/kg body wt) or saline was given to rats by intragastric administration 1 h before the endurance training and the exhaustive swimming test. Expression levels and activities of the l-Arg/nitric oxide (NO) pathway components and parameters of the oxidative stress and antioxidant defense capacity were investigated in l-Arg-treated and control rats. The result show that the l-Arg supplementation completely reversed the exercise-induced activation of NO synthase and superoxide dismutase, increased l-Arg transport capacity, and increased NO and anti-superoxide anion levels. These data demonstrate that l-Arg supplementation effectively reduces the exercise-induced imbalance between oxidative stress and antioxidant defense capacity, and this modulation is likely mediated through the l-Arg/NO pathways. The findings of this study improved our understanding of how l-Arg supplementation prevents elevations of reactive oxygen species and favorably enhances the antioxidant defense capacity during physical exercise.


an exhaustive exercise; endurance training; l-arginine; supplementation effect

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