Prolonged moderate-intensity aerobic exercise does not alter apoptotic signaling and DNA fragmentation in human skeletal muscle Journal Articles uri icon

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  • Apoptosis in skeletal muscle plays an important role in age- and disease-related tissue dysfunction. Physical activity can influence apoptotic signaling; however, this process has not been well studied in human skeletal muscle. The purpose of this study was to perform a comprehensive analysis of apoptosis-related proteins/enzymes, DNA fragmentation, and oxidative stress in skeletal muscle of humans during an acute bout of prolonged moderate-intensity exercise. Eight healthy, recreationally active individuals (age 20.8 ± 0.5 yr, V̇o2peak 51.2 ± 0.9 ml · kg−1 · min−1, BMI 21.5 ± 0.8 kg/m2) exercised on a cycle ergometer at ∼60% V̇o2peak for 2 h. Muscle biopsies were obtained at rest as well as at 60 and 120 min of exercise. Although exercise was associated with a significant whole body and muscle metabolic response, there were no significant changes in the content of antiapoptotic (ARC, Bcl-2, Hsp70, XIAP) and proapoptotic (AIF, Bax, Smac) proteins, activity of proteolytic enzymes (caspase-3, caspase-8, caspase-9), DNA fragmentation, or TUNEL-positive nuclei in skeletal muscle. Furthermore, the protein levels of several antioxidant enzymes (catalase, CuZnSOD, MnSOD), concentrations of GSH and GSSG, and degree of ROS generation in skeletal muscle were not altered by exercise. Fiber type-specific analysis also revealed that ARC ( P < 0.001) and Hsp70 ( P < 0.05) protein were significantly higher in type I compared with type IIA and type IIAX/X fibers; however, protein levels were not affected by exercise. These findings suggest that a single bout of prolonged moderate-intensity aerobic exercise is not sufficient to alter apoptotic signaling in skeletal muscle of healthy humans.


  • Quadrilatero, Joe
  • Bombardier, Eric
  • Norris, Sarah M
  • Talanian, Jason L
  • Palmer, Matthew S
  • Logan, Heather M
  • Tupling, A Russell
  • Heigenhauser, George Joseph Fredri
  • Spriet, Lawrence L

publication date

  • March 2010