Author(s): Barbieri E, Sestili P
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Abstract Generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) is a ubiquitous phenomenon in eukaryotic cells' life. Up to the 1990s of the past century, ROS have been solely considered as toxic species resulting in oxidative stress, pathogenesis and aging. However, there is now clear evidence that ROS are not merely toxic species but also-within certain concentrations-useful signaling molecules regulating physiological processes. During intense skeletal muscle contractile activity myotubes' mitochondria generate high ROS flows: this renders skeletal muscle a tissue where ROS hold a particular relevance. According to their hormetic nature, in muscles ROS may trigger different signaling pathways leading to diverging responses, from adaptation to cell death. Whether a "positive" or "negative" response will prevail depends on many variables such as, among others, the site of ROS production, the persistence of ROS flow or target cells' antioxidant status. In this light, a specific threshold of physiological ROS concentrations above which ROS exert negative, toxic effects is hard to determine, and the concept of "physiologically compatible" levels of ROS would better fit with such a dynamic scenario. In this review these concepts will be discussed along with the most relevant signaling pathways triggered and/or affected by ROS in skeletal muscle.
This article was published in J Signal Transduct
and referenced in Journal of Sports Medicine & Doping Studies