Regulation of Skeletal Muscle Reactive Oxygen Species During Exercise

Authored by: Catherine A. Bellissimo , Christopher G.R. Perry

The Routledge Handbook on Biochemistry of Exercise

Print publication date:  December  2020
Online publication date:  December  2020

Print ISBN: 9780367223830
eBook ISBN: 9781003123835
Adobe ISBN:


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The role of reactive oxygen species and antioxidants in muscle function has shifted gradually from a concept of “bad” vs. “good” to a paradigm of potential regulatory signals connected to virtually all major cellular processes. In this light, oxidative stress was historically viewed as a negative imbalance between these two factors that can cause muscle fatigue during exercise. Contemporary views position both factors in dynamic feedback loops that can alter redox modifications of proteins essential for normal muscle function. However, as is the case for any signalling paradigm, an imbalance in compartmentalized redox signals may be detrimental to muscle function. Viewing reactive oxygen species and antioxidants as integrated systems in specific sub-cellular locations may lead to new lines of research and understandings of how they regulate muscle responses and adaptations to exercise. This chapter summarizes major discoveries of how exercise stimulates reactive oxygen species production and regulates redox buffers. Key methodologies are highlighted to help teach the advantages and limitations of techniques and aid the reader in understanding the constraints of conclusions that may otherwise be tempting to generalize. Perspectives on redox biology are presented in a way that might allow the reader to revisit popular topics in exercise physiology such as antioxidant supplementation. Throughout the chapter, potential future research directions are discussed in a manner that applies these perspectives of redox regulation to advance our understanding of how muscles respond to exercise.

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