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Physical exercise, oxidative stress and muscle damage in racehorses.

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Istituto di Biochimica e Chimica Medica, University of Perugia, Italy.


Since it has been suggested that lipid peroxidation following free radical overproduction may be one of the causes of physical exercise-induced myopathies and hemolysis in horses, we looked for the possible relationships between these phenomena and muscle fiber damage. We use a homogeneous group of Maremmana stallions which, after a 3-month training period, underwent a series of physical exercises of increasing intensity. We determined the contents of malondialdehyde (MDA), one of the main lipid peroxidation end-products, and glutathione the substrate of one of the most important free radical scavenger enzymes. We also measured creatine phosphokinase and serum lactate dehydrogenase isoenzyme activities whose modification may be indicative of muscle fiber damage. The results obtained indicated that the physical exercise we adopted was able to modify both MDA and glutathione contents in blood. However, its effect on some LDH isoenzyme activities suggested possible damage to tissues other than muscle.

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