Production of hydroxyl radicals in contracting skeletal muscle of cats

Charles A. O'Neill, Charles L Stebbins, Stefanie Bonigut, Barry Halliwell, John C. Longhurst

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

122 Scopus citations


Reactive oxygen species increase during exhaustive contraction of skeletal muscle, but characterization of the specific species involved and their rates of production during nonexhaustive muscle contraction have not been investigated. We hypothesized that the production rate of hydroxyl radical (·OH) increases in contracting muscle and that this rate is attenuated by pretreatment with deferoxamine (Def) or dimethylthiourea (DMTU). We measured the rate of production of ·OH before, during, and after 5 min of intermittent static contraction of the triceps surae muscles in cats (n = 6) using the formation of p-, m-, and o-tyrosines by hydroxylation of phenylalanine. L-Phenylalanine (30 mg/kg iv) was administered to each animal 3 min before contraction. Blood samples were collected from the popliteal vein 1 min before contraction; 1, 3, and 4.5 min during contraction; and 1 min after contraction. During and after contraction, the cumulative production rates of p-, m-, and o-tyrosines were elevated by 42.84 ± 5.41, 0.25 ± 0.04, and 0.21 ± 0.03 nmol · min-1 · g-1, respectively, compared with noncontracting triceps surae muscles. Pretreatment with Def (10 mg/kg iv; n = 5) or DMTU (10 mg/kg iv; n = 4) decreased the cumulative rates of production of p-, m-, and o-tyrosines during and after contraction. Additionally, the rate of tyrosine production increased in proportion to the percentage of maximal tension developed by the triceps surae muscles. These results directly demonstrate that ·OH is produced in vivo in the skeletal muscle of cats during intermittent static contraction and that production can occur before the onset of fatigue.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1197-1206
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Applied Physiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1996


  • contraction
  • deferoxamine
  • dimethylthiourea
  • phenylalanine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Endocrinology
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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