Endurance training could be a good way to deal with muscle inflammation, according to researchers.
“All the drugs people are using target one immune cell or a group of immune cells, but there are no new drugs that target muscles that are dying,” says Binghamton University Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences Kanneboyina Nagaraju, in a media release. “Yet, exercise takes care of the immune cells that are killing the muscles, and repairs the cell death of the muscle.”
Nagaraju and his former graduate student Jessica Boehler, along with an international team of researchers, set out to uncover how endurance exercise changes microRNA in skeletal muscles and associate the identified microRNAs with mRNA and protein expressions.
In their study, they divided participants into two groups: a 12-week endurance exercise group and a non-exercise group. To see how exercise affects the patients, muscle biopsies were taken before and after undergoing exercise.
Researchers found that endurance exercise altered microRNAs that target and downregulate immune processes, as well as decreasing different microRNAs that target and upregulate mitochondrial content at the protein level. That is, exercise creates microRNA that decreases the number of immune cells that attack the muscle and heals the muscle by increasing aerobic metabolism through mitochondrial biogenesis, explains the release, from Binghamton University.
“The results weren’t surprising,” Nagaraju says. “The reason why exercise wasn’t considered before is that if people have muscles that are already inflamed or weak, they believed exercise would make the muscles worse. However, what is surprising is the question of why exercise is so effective. It’s because exercise takes care of the immune cells that are damaging the muscle while simultaneously targeting specific parts of dead or affected muscles.”
While there are no drugs today that target all the issues of muscle inflammation, Nagaraju believes, per the release, that a combination of medication and endurance-based exercise can help patients live a happier and healthier life.
The study, co-written by faculty at Binghamton University, State University of New York, and Karolinska Institutet and Karolinska University Hospital in Stockholm, Sweden, was published recently in PLOS ONE.
[Source(s): Binghamton University, Science Daily]