The objective of this study was to examine the correlated response of anti-oxidant enzyme activity to selective breeding for increased voluntary wheel running in house mice. Activity of liver superoxide dismutase-2 (Sod-2), a free radical scavenger, was measured in four groups of mice. 'Active' individuals were housed in cages with attached wheels for 8 weeks beginning at weaning; 'sedentary' individuals were housed in cages with attached wheels that were prevented from rotating. Both of these treatments were applied to male and female mice from generation 14 of a replicated artificial selection experiment, which is composed of four lines selected for high wheel running and four randomly bred lines that serve as controls. In females, Sod-2 activity was significantly lower in selected vs control animals, regardless of presence/absence of a free-turning wheel. This difference suggests a trade-off between early-age voluntary wheel-running activity and Sod-2 activity. In males, Sod-2 activity was significantly affected by an interaction between selection group and activity group, with males from selected lines having lower Sod-2 activity relative to control males only in the sedentary treatment. These negative correlated responses of Sod-2 activity to selection on wheel running are discussed in the context of antagonistic pleiotropy models of aging and with respect to potential effects on lifespan.
Copyright 2002 Nature Publishing Group.