Exercise, free radicals, and lipid peroxidation in type 1 diabetes mellitus

Gareth W Davison, Lindsay George, Simon K Jackson, Ian S Young, Bruce Davies, Damian M Bailey, John R Peters, Tony Ashton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Indirect biochemical techniques have solely been used to ascertain whether type 1 diabetes mellitus patients are more susceptible to resting and exercise-induced oxidative stress. To date there is no direct evidence to support the contention that type 1 diabetic patients have increased levels of free radical species. Thus, the aim of this study was to use electron spin resonance (ESR) spectroscopy in conjunction with alpha-phenyl-tert-butylnitrone (PBN) spin trapping to measure pre- and postexercise free radical concentration in the venous blood of young male patients with type 1 diabetes mellitus (HbA(1c) = 8.2 +/- 1%, n = 12) and healthy matched controls (HbA(1c) = 5.5 +/- 0.2%, n = 13). Supporting measures of lipid peroxidation (malondialdehyde and lipid hydroperoxides), ambient blood glucose and selected antioxidants were also measured. The diabetic patients presented with a comparatively greater concentration of free radicals as measured by ESR and lipid hydroperoxides (LH) compared to the healthy group (p <.05, pooled rest and exercise data), although there was no difference in malondialdehyde (MDA) concentration. alpha-Tocopherol was comparatively lower in the healthy group (p <.05, pooled rest and exercise data vs. diabetic group) due to a selective decrease during physical exercise (p <.05 vs. rest). The hyperfine coupling constants recorded from the ESR spectra (a(Nitrogen) = 1.37 mT and abeta(Hydrogen) = 0.17 mT) are suggestive of either oxygen or carbon-centered species and are consistent with literature values. We suggest that the greater concentration of oxidants seen in the diabetic group may be due to increased glucose autoxidation as a function of this pathology and/or a lower exercise-induced oxidation rate of the major lipid soluble antioxidant alpha-tocopherol. We suggest that the ESR-detected radicals are secondary species derived from decomposition of LH because these are the major initial reaction products of free radical attack on cell membranes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1543-51
Number of pages9
JournalFree Radical Biology and Medicine
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2002


  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Ascorbic Acid
  • Blood Glucose
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1
  • Electron Spin Resonance Spectroscopy
  • Exercise
  • Free Radicals
  • Hemoglobins
  • Humans
  • Lipid Peroxidation
  • Lipid Peroxides
  • Male
  • Malondialdehyde
  • Oxidative Stress
  • Oxygen
  • alpha-Tocopherol
  • ESR
  • type 2 diabetes


Dive into the research topics of 'Exercise, free radicals, and lipid peroxidation in type 1 diabetes mellitus'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this