Age-dependent changes of antioxidant activities and markers of free radical damage in human skeletal muscle

O. Pansarasa, L. Bertorelli, J. Vecchiet, G. Felzani, F. Marzatico

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study was conducted in order to provide evidence for the role of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in human skeletal muscle aging. We used human muscle samples obtained from hospitalized patients in an open study with matched pairs of individuals of different ages. The subjects, ranging in age from 17 to 91 years, were grouped as follows: 17-25-, 26-35-, 36-45-, 46-55-, 56-65-, 66-75-, 76-85-, and 86-91-year-old groups. To investigate the relationship between muscle aging and oxidative damage we measured total and Mn-dependent superoxide dismutase (total SOD, MnSOD), glutathione peroxidase (GSHPx), and catalase (CAT) activities; total reduced and oxidized glutathione (GSHtot, GSH, and GSSG) levels; lipid peroxidation (LPO), and protein carbonyl content (PrC). Total SOD activity decreases significantly with age in the 66-75-year-old group, although MnSOD activity increases significantly in the 76-85-year-old group. The activity of the two H2O2 detoxifying enzymes (GSHPx and CAT) did not change with age, as do GSHtot and GSH levels. GSSG levels increased significantly (76-85- and 86-91-year-old groups) with age. We observed a significant increase in LPO levels (66-75- and 76-85-year-old groups), although the PrC content shows a trend of increase without gaining the statistical significance. These results support the idea that ROS play an important role in the human muscle aging process. Copyright (C) 1999 Elsevier Science Inc.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)617-622
Number of pages6
JournalFree Radical Biology and Medicine
Issue number5-6
Publication statusPublished - Sep 1999


  • Aging
  • Antioxidant enzymes
  • Free radicals
  • Glutathione
  • Lipid peroxidation
  • Protein carbonyl
  • Skeletal muscle

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Medicine(all)
  • Toxicology


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