Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
ISSN: 1303 - 2968   
Ios-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Androit-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
from September 2014
©Journal of Sports Science and Medicine (2008) 07, 344 - 349

Research article
Red Blood Cell and Whole Blood Glutathione Redox Status in Endurance-Trained Men Following a Ski Marathon
Eve Unt1, , Ceslava Kairane2, Ivi Vaher1, Mihkel Zilmer2
Author Information
1 Institute of Exercise Biology and Physiotherapy,
2 University of Tartu, Tartu, Estonia

Eve Unt
✉ Jakobi 5, Institute of Exercise Biology and Physiotherapy, University of Tartu, Tartu 51013, Estonia
Publish Date
Received: 19-02-2008
Accepted: 24-06-2008
Published (online): 01-09-2008
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The aim of the present study was to evaluate the changes in glutathione redox ratio (GSSG·GSH-1) in red blood cells (RBCs) and whole blood in well-trained men following a ski marathon. 16 male subjects (27.0 ± 4.7 yrs, 1.81 ± 0.06 m, 77.6 ± 9.6 kg, VO2max 66.2 ± 5.7 ml·kg-1·min-1) were examined before the competition (pre- COMP), after the competition (post-COMP) and during an 18-hour recovery period (RECOV). There was a slight decrease in reduced glutathione (GSH) in blood and in RBCs in post-COMP. During RECOV, the GSH level in blood was reduced, the GSH level in RBCs was significantly elevated (a statistically significant difference as compared to the pre-COMP level). The post-COMP GSSG·GSH-1 in full blood did not increase significantly, but its increase was statistically significant during the 18-hour recovery period. During the post-COMP and RECOV, the GSSG·GSH-1 in RBCs slightly decreased in comparison with the pre-COMP. Vitamin C concentration in serum increased in post-COMP (49% vs. pre- COMP) and decreased to the baseline level during RECOV. In conclusion, our data show that acute exercise slightly increases the GSSG·GSH-1 in whole blood, while GSSG·GSH-1 in RBCs significantly decreases. Thus, exercise-related changes in the non-enzymatic components of the glutathione system (GSSG and GSH) in whole blood and RBCs are not identical.

Key words: Free radicals, antioxidants, glutathione, vitamin C, exercise

           Key Points
  • The glutathione system is a principal cellular non-enzymic antioxidant system in the organism. Long-term or high-intensity exercise may lead to a decreased level of reduced glutathione (GSH), and thereby increase the glutathione redox ratio (GSSG·GSH).
  • Limited data are available about the glutathione redox (GSSG·GSH) status measured simultaneously in red blood cells (RBCs) and blood concerning acute high-intensity exercise.
  • Acute high-intensity exercise slightly increases the GSSG·GSH in whole blood, while GSSG·GSH significantly decreases in RBCs.
  • Our descriptive data show that exercise-induced changes in the non-enzymatic glutathione system seem to be more effective in RBCs and may prevent the damages resulting from reactive oxygen species during exercise.
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