A single bout of acute exercise increases oxidative stress and stimulates a transient increase in antioxidant enzymes. We asked whether this response would induce protection from a subsequent oxidative challenge, different from that of exercise, and whether the effects were affected by aging. We compared young (20 ± 1 years, n = 8) and older (58 ± 6 years, n = 9) healthy men and women. Resistance to oxidative stress was measured by the F2-isoprostane response to forearm ischemia/reperfusion (I/R) trial. Each participant underwent the I/R trial twice, in random order; once after performing 45 min of cycling on the preceding day (IRX) and a control trial without any physical activity (IRC). Baseline F2-isoprostane levels were significantly lower at IRX compared to IRC (P < 0.05) and not different between groups. F2-isoprostane response to IRX was significantly lower compared to IRC in young (P < 0.05) but not different in the older group. Superoxide dismutase activity in response to acute exercise was significantly higher in young compared to older adults (P < 0.05). These data suggest that signal transduction of acute exercise may be impaired with aging. Repeated bouts of transient reactive oxygen species production as seen with regular exercise may be needed to increase resistance to oxidative stress in older individuals.
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We would like to thank Dave Lang, M.D., for providing medical supervision, Dr. Matthew Gage for assistance with assays, and undergraduate students in the Traustadottir Lab who helped with data collection. We also thank our study volunteers for participating. This study was supported in part by the Northern Arizona University Faculty Grant Program to TT.
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Nordin, T.C., Done, A.J. & Traustadóttir, T. Acute exercise increases resistance to oxidative stress in young but not older adults. AGE 36, 9727 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11357-014-9727-z
- Acute exercise
- Oxidative stress
- Superoxide dismutase