Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

The effect of marathon on mRNA expression of anti-apoptotic and pro-apoptotic proteins and sirtuins family in male recreational long-distance runners

Gabriella Marfe1*, Marco Tafani2, Bruna Pucci2, Carla Di Stefano1, Manuela Indelicato2, Angela Andreoli3, Matteo Antonio Russo24, Paola Sinibaldi-Salimei1 and Vincenzo Manzi5

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Experimental Medicine and Biochemical Sciences, University of Rome "Tor Vergata" Via Montpellier 1, 00133, Rome, Italy

2 Department of Cellular and Molecular Pathology, IRCCS San Raffaele Pisana, Via dei Bonacolsi snc, 00163, Rome, Italy

3 Human Nutrition Unit, University of Rome "Tor Vergata" Via Montpellier 1, 00133, Rome, Italy

4 Department of Experimental Medicine, La Sapienza University, Viale Regina Elena 324, 00161, Rome, Italy

5 School of Sport and Exercise Sciences, University of Rome Tor Vergata" Via Columbia s.n.c. 00133 Rome, Italy

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BMC Physiology 2010, 10:7  doi:10.1186/1472-6793-10-7

Published: 12 May 2010



A large body of evidence shows that a single bout of strenuous exercise induces oxidative stress in circulating human lymphocytes leading to lipid peroxidation, DNA damage, mitochondrial perturbations, and protein oxidation.

In our research, we investigated the effect of physical load on the extent of apoptosis in primary cells derived from blood samples of sixteen healthy amateur runners after marathon (a.m.).


Blood samples were collected from ten healthy amateur runners peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) were isolated from whole blood and bcl-2, bax, heat shock protein (HSP)70, Cu-Zn superoxide dismutase (SOD), Mn-SOD, inducible nitric oxide synthase (i-NOS), SIRT1, SIRT3 and SIRT4 (Sirtuins) RNA levels were determined by Northern Blot analysis. Strenuous physical load significantly increased HSP70, HSP32, Mn-SOD, Cu-Zn SOD, iNOS, GADD45, bcl-2, forkhead box O (FOXO3A) and SIRT1 expression after the marathon, while decreasing bax, SIRT3 and SIRT4 expression (P < 0.0001).


These data suggest that the physiological load imposed in amateur runners during marathon attenuates the extent of apoptosis and may interfere with sirtuin expression.