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Effect of short physical exercise on the levels of zinc and carbonic anhydrase isoenzyme activities in human erythrocytes


Studies of the influences of physical exercise of short duration (bicycle ergometer, 200 W for 30 min) on the activities of carbonic anhydrase isoenzymes (CA-B and CA-C types) and zinc concentration in erythrocytes were made on 5 untrained healthy male volunteers. The subjects were rested for 30 min after the exercise. There were significant decreases in the levels of zinc, CA-B, total carbonic anhydrase activity and CA-B-dependent activity immediately after exercise, but after 30 min of rest they all returned to their pre-exercise levels. No significant change in CA-C level or CA-C-dependent activity was found after exercise. Immediately after exercise, total carbonic anhydrase activity and CA-B-dependent activity following the addition of Zn2+ showed significant increases, compared with their respective activities without Zn2+ addition. However, no such effects were observed just before exercise or after rest; the addition of Zn2+ had no effect on CA-C-dependent activity at any time. A significant correlation was found between the changes in concentration of zinc and CA-B-dependent activity after exercise (r=0.711). The findings of the present study suggest that active CA-B enzymes are converted in part to inactive enzymes during acute physical exercise, possibly by decreased zinc binding. Moreover, the change in CA-B-dependent activity correlated well with the changes in pH and HCO3 concentrations in venous blood (r=0.853 and r=0.718, respectively). One may speculate that an adaptive decrease in CA-B-dependent activity in erythrocytes occurs with increased acidification in blood during heavy physical exercise of short duration.

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Correspondence to H. Ohno PhD.

Additional information

The present study was presented to the “Fifth International Symposium on the Biochemistry of Exercise”, Boston, June 1–5, 1982

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Ohno, H., Hirata, F., Terayama, K. et al. Effect of short physical exercise on the levels of zinc and carbonic anhydrase isoenzyme activities in human erythrocytes. Europ. J. Appl. Physiol. 51, 257–268 (1983).

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Key words

  • Carbonic anhydrase isoenzyme
  • Zinc
  • pH
  • Erythrocyte
  • Exercise