Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

Practical and representative methods to assess skeletal muscle redox status in an ageing population

Simpson, Nikki Lynne


Nikki Lynne Simpson


Mark C. Fogarty

Huw S. Jones


The aged population is growing globally which has led to an increase in research on healthy ageing. Skeletal muscle health and function is a key component of maintaining overall health and independence as we age. It is thought that a deterioration in muscle health is caused by a combination of increased oxidative stress, physical inactivity, dysfunction in metabolism and a progressive loss of protection against such stressors.

This thesis presents an overview of redox balance response to high intensity intermittent exercise (HIIE) in blood and skeletal muscle with age and the antioxidant and metabolic effects of coenzyme Q10 (CoQ) supplementation. A cell culture toolkit was also developed to allow for pre-screening of pharmacological compounds to help limit the need for skeletal muscle biopsies in potentially vulnerable populations, such as the aged.

Using a biochemical exercise mimic, it was shown that intermittent exposure to an exercise stimulus provided the greatest increase in ROS production in C2C12 skeletal muscle cells. This protocol was then replicated in a human-based experiment which altered redox balance in young healthy males above and beyond any disruption caused by the skeletal biopsy procedure itself. The efficacy of CoQ supplementation was subsequently tested in the same exercise and biopsy protocol. Consumption of 300 mg CoQ per day increased blood and muscle CoQ concentration sufficiently in young and aged populations andthis provided some protection against exercise-induced increases in oxidative stress in aged blood and muscle.

A cell culture toolkit was developed and used to assess the impact of CoQ on ageing and exercise in C2C12 cells. CoQ provided limited impact on exercise-induced markers of oxidative stress but, it appeared to reduce antioxidant capacity in older cells. This highlights the importance for further research into the impact of chronic CoQ supplementation, combined with exercise, on the beneficial adaptations to training in an aged population.


Simpson, N. L. (2019). Practical and representative methods to assess skeletal muscle redox status in an ageing population. (Thesis). University of Hull. Retrieved from

Thesis Type Thesis
Deposit Date Jan 2, 2020
Publicly Available Date Feb 23, 2023
Keywords Sports science
Public URL
Additional Information Department of Sport, Health and Exercise Science, The University of Hull
Award Date Aug 1, 2019


Thesis (1.9 Mb)

Copyright Statement
© 2019 Simpson, Nikki Lynne. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the copyright holder.

You might also like

Downloadable Citations