Li Li Ji, PhD
Director, School of Kinesiology
Professor and Director, Laboratory of Physiological Hygiene and Exercise Science
Areas of Interest
Biochemical and molecular exercise physiology, nutrition and aging
School of Kinesiology
Room 110A CookeH
1900 University Ave SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455
- B.S., 1976, East China Normal University
- M.S., 1982, University of Wisconsin-Madison
- Ph.D., 1985, University of Wisconsin-Madison
The balance of free radicals and antioxidants plays a critical role in life. Reactive oxygen and nitrogen intermediates are generated from normal cellular processes as well as in certain pathological states, which could fulfill essential biological functions but also elicit serious threat to health. Numerous diseases are now identified to be related to oxidative stress caused by insufficient antioxidant defense. A central paradigm of my research is to study how this delicate balance could be affected by rigorous physical activity, during aging and in some diseases. There is strong evidence that moderate levels of exercise combined with proper nutrition are essential for health and longevity. I have been fortunate to be able to conduct research in this exciting field of biological science during the past 25 years. Moving my laboratory to the University of Minnesota opens new opportunities and I am looking forward to working together with graduate and undergraduate students and collaborating with faculty and researchers across campus.
Exercise and Nutrition Are Medicine
Strenuous exercise is associated with increased oxygen consumption and free radical production. Tissues actively involved in exercise, such as skeletal muscle, liver and heart, are exposed to an increased oxidative challenge. Yet, serious damages to these tissue due to exercise are rare because organisms are capable of adapting to elevated levels of free radicals by increasing antioxidant defense. In fact, some reactive oxygen and nitrogen species (such as hydrogen peroxide and nitric oxide) can serve as signaling molecules to active the adaptive processes. Nutrition serves a critical role in this paradigm as deficiency of essential antioxidant nutrients renders the body to high risks of oxidative damage, whereas supplementation of certain antioxidants offer increased protection. However, overload of exogenous antioxidants could backfire by offsetting natural adaptive response and removing exercise benefits. Selective supplementation of a broad spectrum of phytochemicals has proven to be a smart way to enhance antioxidant protection while avoiding depletion of “good” reactive species.
Free Radicals, Antioxidants and Aging
There is strong evidence that aging is caused by free radical reaction with the cellular components of human body throughout the life. Increased free radical generation and subsequent modification of the macromolecules underlie many age-related degenerated problems such as sarcopenia, Alzheimer diseases, cardiopulmonary disorders and cancer. One of my strong interests is to seek physiological and nutritional strategies that could enhance antioxidant defense and prevent age-related health deterioration. We use both animal and human subjects to study mechanisms causing these problems and to explore strategies to benefit older people. We emphasize regular physical activity that has been shown to enhance antioxidant defense and maintenance of proper nutritional intake throughout the life span.
Gopalakrishnan, A. L. L. Ji and C. Cirelli. Effect of sleep deprivation on markers of oxidative stress and cellular damage. Sleep 27: 27-35, 2004
Ji, L. L. Free radicals and heart ischemia-reperfusion injury. In: Exercise and Diseases (Ed. Z. Radak) Human Kinetics Publisher, Champaign, IL. p. 110-132, 2004.
Ji, L. L and D. Perterson. Aging, Exercise and Phytochemicals: Promises and Pitfalls. Ann. N.Y. Acad. Sci. 1019: 453-461, 2004.
Ji, L. L., M-C. Gomez-Cabrera, N. Steinhafel, and J. Vina. Acute Exercise Activates Nuclear Factor (NF) kB Signaling Pathway in Rat Skeletal Muscle. FASEB J. 18:1499-1506, 2004.
Gomez-Cabrera, M-C, C. Borras, G. Santangelo, F.V. Pallardó , J. Sastre, L. L. Ji and J. Vina. Decreasing xanthine oxidase mediated oxidative stress prevents useful cellular adatptations to exercise in rats. J. Physiol. (London) 567:113-120, 2005.
Sakurai T, J. Hollander, S. Brickson, T. Izawa, H. Ohno, L. L. Ji, and T. M. Best. Changes in nitric oxide and inducible nitric oxide synthase following stretch-induced injury to the tibialis anterio muscle of rabbit. Japan J. Physiol. 55: 101-107, 2005
Lee, C-H., M. Wettasinghe, B. W. Bolling, L. L. Ji and K. Parkin. Betalains as markers for highly-enriched phase II enzyme-inducing components from red beetroot (Beta vulgaris L.) extracts. Nutr. Cancer 53:91-103, 2005.
Ji, L. L., M-C. Gomez-Cabrera and J. Vina. Exercise and hormesis: Activation of cellular signaling pathways. Ann. N. Y. Acad. Sci. 1067:425-435, 2006.
Ji, L. L. Oxidative Stress and Antioxidant defenses: effects of aging and exercise. In: Oxidative stress, Exercise and Aging. (Ed. H. M. Allesio and A. E. Hagerman). Imperial College Press, London. P. 85-109, 2006.
Ji, L. L. Antioxidant signaling in skeletal muscle: a brief review. Exp. Gerontol. 42: 582-593, 2007.
Larraín, R. E., M. P. Richards, D. M. Schaefer, L. L. Ji, and J. D. Reed. Growth performance and muscle oxidation in rats fed increasing amounts of high-tannin sorghum. J. Animal Sci. 85:3276-3284, 2007.
Ji, L. L., M.C. Gomez-Cabrera and J. Vina. Role of nuclear factor κB and mitogen-activated protein kinase signaling in exercise-induced antioxidant enzyme adaptation. Appl. Physiol. Nutr. Metabol. 5:930-935, 2007.
Ji, L. L. Physical Activity: A Strong Stimulant for Hormesis during Aging. In Mild Stress and Healthy Aging: Applying Hormesis. Ed. Eric. Le Bourg and Suresh Rattan. SPI Publishing, p. 97-114, 2007.
Ji, L. L. Modulation of skeletal muscle antioxidant defense by exercise: role of redox signaling. Free Rad. Biol. Med. 44: 142-152, 2008.
Bo, H., N. Jiang, G. Ma, J. Qu, G. Zhang, D. Cao, L. Wen, S. Liu, L. L. Ji, and Y. Zhang. Regulation of mitochondrial uncoupling respiration during exercise in rat heart: role of ROS and uncoupling protein-2. Free Rad. Biol. Med. 44: 1373–1381, 2008.
Ji, L. L. Z. Radak, and S. Goto. Exercise and hormesis: How the Cell Copes with Oxidative Stress. Am. J. Pharmacol. Toxicol. 3 (1): 41-55, 2008.
Ji, L. L. and R. Koenig. Oat antioxidant. In Nutrigenomics and Proteomics in Health and Disease. (Ed. Y. Mine). CRC-Taylor & Francis, New York. P. 239-249, 2008.
Jiang, N.; Zhang, G.; Bo, H.; Qu, J.; Ma, Cao.; D, Wen, L.; Liu, S.; Ji, L.L.; Zhang, Y.Upregulation of uncoupling protein-3 in skeletal muscle during exercise: a potential antioxidant function. Free Rad Biol Med 46:138-145, 2009.
Jiang, N.; Zhang, G.; Bo, H.; Qu, J.; Ma, Cao.; D, Wen, L.; Liu, S.; Ji, L.L.; Zhang, Y. Upregulation of uncoupling protein-3 in skeletal muscle during exercise: a potential antioxidant function. Free Rad Biol Med 46:138-145, 2009
Ji, L. L. M-C. Gomez-Cabrera, and J. Vina. Role of Antioxidants in Muscle Health and Pathology. Infectious Disorders Special Issue. Infect. Disord. Drug Targets 9(4):428-444, 2009.
Kang C., K. M. O’Moore, J. R. Dickman and L. L. Ji. Exercise activation of muscle peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-γ coactivator-1α signaling is redox sensitive. Free Rad. Biol. Med. 47: 1394-1400, 2009.
Dickman, J. R., R.T. Koenig, and L. L. Ji. American ginseng supplementation induces a mild oxidative stress in elderly women. J. Am. Coll. Nutr. 28:219-228, 2009.
Ji, L. L. and Zhang, Y. Antioxidant signaling in skeletal muscle. In Muscle Plasticity-Advances in Biochemical and Physiological Research. (Editor. J. Magalhaes and Antonio Ascensão). Research Signpost, p. 95-120, 2009.
Ding H,, N. Jiang, H. Liu, X. Liu, D. Liu, F. Zhao, L. Wen, S. Liu , L. L. Ji, Yong, Zhang. Dynamic Response of mitochondrial fusion and fission protein gene expression to exercise in rat dkeletal muscle. Biochim. Biophys. Acta 1800: 250-256, 2010.
Ji, L. L. , J. R. Dickman, C. Kang, and R. Koenig. Exercise-induced Hormesis may help healthy aging. Dose-Response 28: 73-79, 2010.
Liao P, J. P. Zhou, L. L. Ji. and Y. Zhang, Lengthening Contraction Induced Inflammatory Responses in Rat Skeletal Muscle: Role of Tumor Necrosis Factor-α. Am. J. Physiol.(Reg. Integr. Comp. Physiol.) 298: R599-607, 2010.
Bo H, Y. Zhang, L.L. Ji. Redefining the Role of Mitochondria in Exercise: a Dynamic Remodeling. Ann. N. Y. Aca. Sci. 1201: 121-128, 2010.
Exercise activation of cellular antioxidant signaling pathway. Invited speaker. 4th BELLE International Conference of Hormesis. Amhurst, MA, June 6, 2005
Exercise and hormesis: role of NFκB in antioxidant signaling. Symposium organizer and speaker. 11th International Biomedical Gerontology Conference Aarhus University in Denmark, August 13-16 2005.
Free radical-antioxidant homeostasis in the mitochondria: Role of MnSOD. Invited lecture. Mitochondria in Health and Disease Conference. Chinese Academy of Science,. Beijing, September 27, 2005.
Antioxidant supplementation for health and performance. Invited lecture. Taiwan Society of Exercise Physiology. Taipei, Taiwan, December 19, 2005.
Free radicals as cell signaling agents. Invited speaker. International Biochemistry of Exercise Symposium. Soul, Korea. October 22, 2006.
Role of mitochondria in muscle adaptation to exercise. Invited lecture. International Mitochondrial Conference. Wenzhow, China, Nov. 4-6, 2006.
Antioxidant signaling. Invited symposium speaker, American College of Sports Medicine meeting. New Olean. May 30, 2007.
Exercise-induced signaling and adaptation of antioxidant systems. Loyola University Medical School. Oct. 3, 2007.
The cell finds fire: Utility of free radicals in exercise adaptation. American Chemical Society Chicago Chapter. April 17, 2008.
The Molecular biology basis for training adaptation: role of cell signaling. Invited speaker, 2008 Beijing Olympic Science Conference, Guangzhou, August 3, 2008.
Muscle Antioxidant Adaptation Controlled by Redox-sensitive Signal Transduction. Invited speaker. international symposium on Aging and Exercise. Juntendo University, Japan, January 31, 2009.
How mitochondrial protect against oxidative stress during exercise. Invited Speaker, International conference on Nutrition, Oxygen Biology and Medicine. Paris, France. April 8-10, 2009.
Antioxidant defense in mitochondria. Organizer and speaker. ACSM symposium on Mitochondria. Seattle, WA. May 22, 2009.
Refining the role of mitochondria in exercise: a dynamic remodeling. Invited speech at the 3^rd International Conference of Mitochondrial Medicine. Wenzhou, China. August 4, 2009.
Physical exercise: a critical component for successful aging. Invited speech at the 3rd International Conference of Nutrition and Physical Activity in Aging, Obesity and Cancer. Jeju, Korea. December 16, 2009. **
Free radical and sports medicine: from theory to practice. Invited speech. Shanghai International Sport Medicine Research Forum. Shanghai, China. December 20, 2009.
Physical activity and metabolic control: an old topic with new insight. Beijing International Forum on Physical Activity and Sports Medicine. Beijing University of Sports, China. December 22, 2009.
Management of a Kinesiology Department: a UW-Madison Model. Tianjin Sports University. June 9, 2010.
Exercise-induced cell signaling: Implication in sport training. Beijing University of Sports, China. November 22, 2010.
Oat: a promising antioxidant and anti-inflammatory phytochemical. 2nd Nutrition, Aging and Physical Activity international conference. February 17, 2011. Gyeongju, South Korea.