Indexed on: 31 May '11Published on: 31 May '11Published in: Experimental Physiology
The underlying mechanisms of adaptation from staying physically active are not completely revealed. This study examined the effects of 8 and 20 weeks of habitual voluntary exercise on the susceptibility of lymphocytes to oxidant-induced DNA damage, antioxidant enzyme activities in cardiac and skeletal muscles, and circulatory antioxidant profile. Forty young adult rats were randomly assigned to sedentary control and exercise groups for an experimental period of 8 or 20 weeks. Animals assigned to exercise groups were subjected to 24 h daily free access to an in-cage running wheel with circumference of 1.19 m. A magnetic digital counter was attached to the running wheel to record daily exercise distance run by the animals. Control rats were housed in cages without a running wheel, located next to the exercised animals. Body weight and food intake were recorded weekly. After the experimental periods of 8 and 20 weeks, blood, left ventricle, soleus and plantaris muscles were collected for analysis. No significant difference was found in plasma total antioxidant capacity between exercised and control animals in the 8 and 20 week groups according to our ferric reducing/antioxidant power (FRAP) analysis. However, modified FRAP for ascorbic acid (FRASC) analysis indicated that plasma ascorbic acid content was significantly increased by 46 and 34% in 8 and 20 week exercise groups, respectively, when compared with the corresponding control groups. Superoxide dismutase (SOD) activity was significantly elevated by 39% in erythrocytes of animals exercised for 8 weeks relative to control animals. In the 20 week exercise group, Glutathione peroxidase (GPx) activity in ventricle and plantaris was significantly upregulated by 477 and 290%, respectively, relative to control values. As demonstrated by comet assay, the oxidant-induced DNA damage was significantly reduced by 21 and 45% in lymphocytes of animals exercised for 8 and 20 weeks, respectively, when compared with the corresponding control lymphocytes. Our qRT-PCR analysis showed that the transcript expression of SOD2 was significantly elevated by 939% in lymphocytes of animals exercised for 8 weeks relative to control animals. Increased expressions of SOD2 (by 19%), catalase (25%), APEX nuclease (multifunctional DNA repair enzyme) 1 (APEX1; 46%), Protein kinase, DNA-activated, catalytic polypeptide (Prkdc; 9%) and O-6-methylguanine-DNA methyltransferase (Mgmt; 26%) were found in lymphocytes of animals exercised for 20 weeks relative to control rats. These results demonstrate that habitual exercise confers increased resistance of lymphocytes to oxidant-induced DNA damage, and this protective effect is possibly attributed to the regular exercise-induced elevated expression of antioxidant and DNA repairing enzymes.