Aging is associated with increased oxidative stress. Muscle levels of oxidative stress are further elevated with exercise. The purpose of this study was to determine if dietary antioxidant supplementation would improve muscle function and cellular markers of oxidative stress in response to chronic repetitive loading in aging. The dorsiflexors of the left limb of aged and young adult Fischer 344 Brown×Norway rats were loaded 3 times weekly for 4.5 weeks using 80 maximal stretch-shortening contractions per session. The contra-lateral limb served as the intra-animal control. The rats were randomly assigned to a diet supplemented with Vitamin E and Vitamin C or normal non-supplemented rat chow. Biomarkers of oxidative stress were measured in the tibialis anterior muscle. Repetitive loading exercise increased maximal isometric force, negative work and positive work in the dorsiflexors of young adult rats. Only positive work increased in the aged animals that were supplemented with Vitamin E and C. Markers of oxidative stress (H(2)O(2), total GSH, GSH/GSSG ratio, malondialdehyde and 8-OHdG) increased in the tibialis anterior muscles from aged and young adult animals with repetitive loading, but Vitamin E and C supplements attenuated this increase. MnSOD activity increased with supplementation in the young adult animals. CuZnSOD and catalase activity increased with supplementation in young adult and aged animals and GPx activity increased with exercise in the non-supplemented young adult and aged animals. The increased levels of endogenous antioxidant enzymes after Vitamin E and C supplementation appear to be regulated by post-transcriptional modifications that are affected differently by age, exercise, and supplementation. These data suggest that antioxidant supplementation improves indices of oxidative stress associated with repetitive loading exercise and aging and improves the positive work output of muscles in aged rodents.
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