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Keywords:

  • antioxidants;
  • glycogen;
  • over-load training;
  • reactive oxygen species;
  • skeletal muscle

ABSTRACT

Ergometer cycling performance as well as acute exercise-induced changes in the metabolism of energy-intermediates and glutathione (GSH) were investigated in skeletal muscle (SM) of 15 healthy young male subjects (VO2max∼54.7 mL kg−1 min−1, age ∼25 years), before and after 3 days of controlled ‘ìoverload-training’ in combination with either high (62% of energy intake) or low (26% of energy intake) dietary intake of carbohydrates. The intake of a carbohydrate-rich diet clearly reduced the depletion of SM glycogen following the short-term training period, paralleled with a positive effect on the endurance performance, but not on high-intensity work-performance. An ‘delayed over-reaching effect’, defined as impaired work-performance, was observed after 2.5 days of recovery from the short-term training period, irrespective of the carbohydrate content of the diet and basal glycogen level in SM. Taken together, the main and novel findings of present investigation are: (1) an acute decrease of reduced GSH content and altered thiol-redox homeostasis in SM induced by strenuous high-intensity exercise; (2) an adaptive elevation of basal GSH level following the short-term training period; (3) an adaptive decrease of basal GSH level following 2.5 days recovery from training; (4) evidence of a relationship between the SM fibre type, physical performance capacity and GSH turnover during acute bouts of exercise; and (5) no evident effect of the level of carbohydrate intake on metabolism of GSH or energy intermediates. Furthermore, the induction of acute oxidative stress in exercising human SM and the adaptive responses to training are suggested to provide a protective antioxidant phenotype to the exercising SM during periods with repeated intense intermittent training.