Rigorous exercise training increases superoxide dismutase activity in ventricular myocardium

S. K. Powers, D. Criswell, J. Lawler, D. Martin, F. K. Lieu, Li Ji Li Li Ji, R. A. Herb

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Controversy exists as to the effect of endurance training on myocardial antioxidant enzyme activity. These experiments sought to clarify this issue by examining antioxidant enzyme activities in the rat ventricular myocardium in response to different intensities and durations of exercise training. Female Fischer-344 rats (120 days old) were assigned to either a sedentary control group or one of nine exercise training groups. Animals were exercised on a motorized treadmill for 10 wk; combinations of three durations (30, 60, and 90 min/day), and three levels of exercise intensity (low, moderate, and high) were studied. Exercise training did not alter (P > 0.05) citrate synthase, catalase, or glutathione peroxidase activities in the right or left ventricle. In contrast, high-intensity exercise (all durations) and moderate- intensity exercise (90 min/day) resulted in a significant increase (P < 0.05; +28-30%) in right ventricular superoxide dismutase (SOD) activity. Similarly, high-intensity exercise training (all durations) resulted in a significant elevation (P < 0.05; +14-26%) of left ventricular SOD activity. Furthermore, low- and moderate-intensity exercise training of long duration (i.e., 60-90 min/day) resulted in significant increases (P < 0.05; +10-23%) in left ventricular SOD activity. These data support the hypothesis that high- intensity exercise (≥30 min/day) or moderate-intensity exercise of long duration (≥60 min/day) is effective in upregulating SOD activity in the ventricular myocardium.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)H2094-H2098
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology
Issue number6 34-6
StatePublished - 1993
Externally publishedYes


  • catalase
  • endurance exercise
  • free radicals
  • glutathione peroxidase


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