Understanding cell type’s responses to exercise could help progress exercise as medicine

Exercise may boost human health through cell production.


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Researchers have long been fascinated by the potential of exercise to produce chemicals that promote human health, such as exercise factors or exercises. 

These molecules, also known as exercise factors or exercises, have the potential to lower the incidence of health problems such as obesity, heart disease, and diabetes, as well as improve sports performance.

However, separating exercises from it has proven problematic due to a lack of a thorough understanding of the blood. Long and his colleagues have created a revolutionary technique for looking deeper into the blood to detect cell-secreted compounds and indicate which cell types produce which molecules. This is critical for better understanding exercise’s role in health improvement.

According to Long, this goal has remained elusive partly because it has yet to isolate exercises from blood. “If you analyze whole blood, you can only see its most abundant substances, and everything else is invisible.” 

Long’s Cell Metabolism article reveals how exercise affects protein production by 21 different cell types in mice. The study discovered that the 21 cell types are up or down-regulated by roughly 200 different exercise variables, demonstrating that the effects of physical activity are ubiquitous across many tissues and organ systems.

Jonathan Z. Long from Standford University said, “This means that the effects of physical activity are very widespread across many tissues and organ systems; we’re only just starting to understand that complexity.”

The cells that responded the most to exercise were designated after a protein receptor (Pdgfra) identified in many different tissues and organs. The typical suspects, such as muscle, bone, and liver cells, produced minor reactions.

He said, “If we really want to understand the exercise response, we can’t just focus on muscle, bone, and other tissues we associate with exercise. We have to look much more widely.”

The researchers also observed that liver cells produce many members of the carboxylesterase protein family after exercise. Researchers have previously concentrated on the roles of these proteins within cells and demonstrated their benefits to metabolic health. Still, they had not seen a probable involvement in the bloodstream.

Long’s team created mice that secreted increased levels of carboxylesterase proteins from the liver without exercise, resisted weight gain on a high-fat diet, and demonstrated superior treadmill endurance.

The discovery raises questions about the function of Pdgfra cells in various organs and why they respond to exercise. It also begs whether other exercises have significant anti-inflammatory effects or benefit the bones, heart, immune system, and brain. 

Long thinks this effort will increase our understanding of cell-to-cell communication. Still, another reason to undertake these tedious research investigations from a 30,000-foot perspective is the unfulfilled promise of “exercise as medicine.”

According to Long, They know exercise has a therapeutic effect on many chronic and debilitating conditions. Still, it is not yet a medicine. This is due to the fact that most medicines are composed of well-defined compounds with well-defined mechanisms of action, pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics, and adverse effects. On the other hand, those things need to be more well-defined for exercise.

The researcher said, “In the long term, we want to understand the molecules and cells associated with exercise at high resolution so that exercise as medicine can become a reality.”

Journal Reference:

  1. Nicholas M. Riley, Xuchao Lyu, et al.Organism-wide, cell-type-specific secretome mapping of exercise training in mice. Cell Metabolism. DOI: 10.1016/j.cmet.2023.04.011


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