Protein synthesis and antioxidant capacity in aging mice: Effects of long-term voluntary exercise

Lobke M. Vaanholt, John R. Speakman, Theodore Garland, Gerald Lobley, G. Henk Visser

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

34 Citations (Scopus)


Exercise increases metabolic rate and the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) but also elevates protein turnover. ROS cause damage to macromolecules (e. g., proteins) and thereby contribute to aging. Protein turnover removes and replaces damaged proteins. The balance between these two responses may underlie beneficial effects of physical activity on aging. Effects of lifelong exercise on antioxidant enzyme activities and fractional synthesis rate of protein (FSRP) were examined at various ages (2-26 mo) in heart, liver, and muscle of mice that had been selectively bred for high wheel-running activity, housed with (S+) or without (S+) a running wheel, and their random-bred controls (C+) housed with running wheels. FSRP decreased with age and increased in muscle of young, but not old, activity-selected mice. Enzyme activity of superoxide dismutase and glutathione peroxidase decreased with age and showed a peak at 10 mo of age in liver. Selection for wheel-running activity did not affect antioxidant enzyme activity. Daily energy expenditure correlated positively with antioxidant levels in liver. This might indicate that oxidative stress (ROS production) increases with metabolic rate, driving upregulation of antioxidant enzymes. Alternatively, the elevated energy expenditure may reflect the energetic cost of elevated protection, consistent with the disposable-soma hypothesis and with other studies showing positive links between energy expenditure and life span. Long-term elevations in voluntary exercise did not result in elevations in antioxidant enzyme activities or protein synthesis rates.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)148-157
Number of pages10
JournalPhysiological and Biochemical Zoology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2008


  • wheel-running behavior
  • age-related-changes
  • resistance exercise
  • metabolic-rate
  • superoxide-dismutase
  • dietary-restriction
  • oxidative stress
  • whole-body
  • life-span
  • drosophila-melanogaster


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