Xanthine oxidase inhibition attenuates skeletal muscle signaling following acute exercise but does not impair mitochondrial adaptations to endurance training

G. D. Wadley, M. A. Nicolas, D. S. Hiam, G. K. McConell

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55 Citations (Scopus)


The aim of this research was to examine the impact of the xanthine oxidase (XO) inhibitor allopurinol on the skeletal muscle activation of cell signaling kinases' and adaptations to mitochondrial proteins and antioxidant enzymes following acute endurance exercise and endurance training. Male Sprague-Dawley rats performed either acute exercise (60 min of treadmill running, 27 m/min, 5% incline) or 6 wk of endurance training (5 days/wk) while receiving allopurinol or vehicle. Allopurinol treatment reduced XO activity to 5% of the basal levels (P < 0.05), with skeletal muscle uric acid levels being almost undetectable. Following acute exercise, skeletal muscle oxidized glutathione (GSSG) significantly increased in allopurinol- and vehicle-treated groups despite XO activity and uric acid levels being unaltered by acute exercise (P < 0.05). This suggests that the source of ROS was not from XO. Surprisingly, muscle GSSG levels were significantly increased following allopurinol treatment. Following acute exercise, allopurinol treatment prevented the increase in p38 MAPK and ERK phosphorylation and attenuated the increase in mitochondrial transcription factor A (mtTFA) mRNA (P < 0.05) but had no effect on the increase in peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-γ coactivator-1α (PGC-1α), nuclear respiratory factor-2, GLUT4, or superoxide dismutase mRNA. Allopurinol also had no impact on the endurance training-induced increases in PGC-1α, mtTFA, and mitochondrial proteins including cytochrome c, citrate synthase, and β-hydroxyacyl-CoA dehydrogenase. In conclusion, although allopurinol inhibits cell signaling pathways in response to acute exercise, the inhibitory effects of allopurinol appear unrelated to exercise-induced ROS production by XO. Allopurinol also has little effect on increases in mitochondrial proteins following endurance training.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 15 Apr 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Allopurinol
  • Contraction
  • MAPK
  • PGC-1a
  • Reactive oxygen species

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