Heat shock proteins and endogenous antioxidants in skeletal muscle

Muscle cells are constantly exposed to stressful insults when contracting. These insults includes mechanical stress, periods of ischemia and formation of reactive oxygen and nitrogen species/free radicals - all which have the potential to increase cell stress and induce damage.


Place: Norges Idrettshøgskole

Formal title

Heat shock proteins and endogenous antioxidants in skeletal muscle – Acute responses to exercise and adaptations to training


As a response to cell stress, the cells activate and adjust their defense systems to ensure cell homeostasis and prepare the repair processes. If the muscle cell is frequently inflicted with high levels of stress, the capacity in these defense systems will increase.
A typical stress response to exercise is a general increase in heat shock protein synthesis and immediate translocation to stressed and damaged areas within the cell. Additionally, the endogenous antioxidant system, which is the cells own antioxidants, increase its activity to neutralize and remove free radicals.
As most of these systems are well-known to react to high load and high intensity exercise, little is known how these systems react to low loads and lower intensity. Additionally, how antioxidant supplementation affects these systems and their adaptation to training is less studied and is focused in this thesis.


Exercise with low loads in combination with blood flow restriction induced a significant heat shock protein response in skeletal muscles. This response was mainly seen in type 1 fibers.


Antioxidant supplementation did not affect the adaptations in heat shock proteins or endogenous antioxidant levels in skeletal muscles in response to endurance training.


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