Antioxidant pathways in human aged skeletal muscle: Relationship with the distribution of type II fibers

Orietta Pansarasa, Giorgio Felzani, Jacopo Vecchiet, Fulvio Marzatico

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Type II fiber loss and reactive oxygen species (ROS)-induced damage are hallmarks of muscle aging. The aim of this study was to analyze whether there exists a relationship between age-dependent changes in cellular antioxidant capacity and type II fiber loss in aged human skeletal muscles. Forty-five male and female subjects ranging in age from 65 to 90 year-old were divided into +40 and -40% type II fiber groups. We measured both total and Mn superoxide dismutase (total and MnSOD), glutathione peroxidase (GSHPx) and catalase (CAT) activities. We also measured the reduced and oxidized forms of glutathione (GSH and GSSG) and lipid peroxide (LPO) levels. Total SOD activity was lower in the -40% type II fiber group than in the +40% group; MnSOD tended to be lower but data are not statistically consistent. Both GSHPx and CAT activities remained unchanged; as did GSH, GSSG and GSH/GSSG ratio. Finally, muscle samples with -40% type II fibers had a significantly higher LPO content compared to those with +40% type II fibers. In summary, a relationship between human skeletal muscle aging, type II fiber loss and ROS reactions seems to exist.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1069-1075
Number of pages7
JournalExperimental Gerontology
Issue number8-9
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2002


  • Aging
  • Antioxidant enzymes
  • Fiber distribution
  • Human skeletal muscle
  • Lipid peroxidation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ageing
  • Medicine(all)


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