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A new study found that moderate exercise reduced inflammatory markers by changing gene expression in bone marrow cells. Geber86/Getty Images
  • Researchers studied the effect of exercise on inflammation in mice.
  • They found that regular moderate exercise reduced inflammatory markers in mice.
  • This was due to epigenetic changes that affected the expression of genes responsible for the inflammatory response of certain immune cells.
  • Further research is needed to see if these results translate to humans.

Inflammation occurs when the body’s immune system reacts. This could include pathogens such as germs, foreign bodies, and anything else that the immune system recognizes as foreign.

Although it can make a difference restore tissues and healing, excessive and chronic inflammation can cause diseases such as cancer, diabetesand neurodegenerative disease.

Studies have shown that exercise can regulate the immune system. Researches sons that moderate exercise has an anti-inflammatory effect. Various mechanisms have been proposed to explain how exercise has this effect, including reduced fat mass and altered function immune cells called macrophages.

However, exactly how exercise induces these changes that reduce inflammation is still unknown. Further research into how this happens could inform treatment and prevention of inflammation-related health conditions.

Recently, researchers investigated how macrophages present in the bone marrow changed after exercise to produce anti-inflammatory effects.

They found that regular moderate exercise reduces the inflammatory response by reactivating metabolic and epigenetic functions in macrophages.

Dr. Ali Abdul-Sater, associate professor of immunology and physiology at York University, Canada, one of the authors of the study, said Medical news today:

“Obviously, different people would need different exercise programs after taking into account their particular condition. However, I think what this tells us is that doing moderate and regular exercise will likely “”educate”” the immune cells in active individuals to have a more balanced inflammatory response when exposed to infection or injury. “

The study was published in Cell Physiology.

For the study, the researchers collected female mice and divided them into two groups: one that exercised on a treadmill for one hour a day, and the other that did not exercise at all. Both exercises lasted for eight weeks.

The researchers collected bone marrow-derived macrophages (BMDM) from both groups of mice and performed various tests to assess their inflammatory and antiviral responses.

Finally, they found that gene expression of inflammatory genes in BMDM of exercised mice was significantly lower than in sedentary controls, due to changes in the accessibility of these genes for transcription.

The researchers also noted that exercise inhibited other pathways associated with inflammation compared to controls.

To understand why this might be the case, the researchers looked at the effect of exercise on mitochondrial function in BMDM. Mitochondria play an important role in metabolic processes that regulate inflammation and macrophage activation.

They found that moderate exercise reduced oxidative stress in BMDM and improved overall mitochondrial quality in BMDM. These improvements, they noted, occurred similar to how mitochondria adapt in muscle cells after exercise.

The researchers next wanted to investigate whether this effect could be maintained in the long term. To do so, they examined BMDMs from exercised mice after they stopped exercising. After stopping exercise for two weeks, both oxidative stress and mitochondrial potential decreased to a sedentary state.

Dr. Isabelle Amigues, a rheumatologist in Denver, CO, who is not involved in the study, said MNT:

“Overweight and obesity are well-known causes of inflammatory conditions. Any chronic inflammatory condition can cause immune system dysfunction. For example, being overweight and obese is a known risk factor for developing psoriatic arthritis or cancer.”

Dr. Jacob Teitelbaum, a board-certified internist who was not involved in the study, said MNT that inflammation can also increase the risk of weight gain.

“Usually acute infections like pneumonia […] increase the burning of fat cells for energy, which causes weight loss,” explained Dr. Teitelbaum.

“But after these infections and inflammation become chronic, as seen in post-infectious and other causes of chronic fatigue syndrome such as chronic COVID, a number of changes cause weight gain.”

“Two of our own studies showed an average weight gain of 32 ½ pounds in people with chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia. We can expect to see this begin to manifest itself in the coming years as an even more devastating effect of Long COVID,” added Dr. Teitelbaum wood.

When asked how inflammation could increase weight gain, Dr. Teitelbaum has many possible causes. Among them, he said, inflammation can increase production of the stress hormone cortisol, which causes insulin resistance and weight gain.

“[Weight gain may also occur if the body attempts] to conserve energy in the face of inflammation, leading to what is known as T3 thyroid resistance. Basically, the body becomes deaf to thyroid hormone, suppressing metabolism and causing hypothyroidism, [which is linked to weight increase largely through salt and water retention] despite normal laboratory tests.”

– Dr. Jacob Teitelbaum, MD

MNT also talked to Dr. Tejasav Sehrawat, an internal medicine resident at Yale University School of Medicine, who was not involved in the study.

“The pathway that the authors elegantly describe in this study is the same pathway as when it is targeted against the causes of fatty liver disease in our study at the Mayo Clinic helped treat the condition,” said Dr. Sehrawat.

“It is also the same way which is caused by the abuse of alcohol and the damage that is further caused in the body. This demonstrates the broad implications of understanding and further developing these concepts that we can try to effectively target in chronic inflammatory diseases,” he added.

When asked about the study’s limitations, Dr. Teitelbaum said the study only looked at “a small area of ​​the body’s response to exercise,” noting that the results were based on mice rather than humans.

“Although the mice’s immune system is closely related to humans, the way they were trained in cages does not reflect the human experience,” said Dr. Teitelbaum.

“Basically, they were looking at one very small piece of a very large puzzle.” While important to do, it is important to keep perspective as well.”

MNT also spoke with Ryan Glatt, senior brain health coach and director of the FitBrain program at the Pacific Neuroscience Institute in Santa Monica, California, who was not involved in the study.

Glad pointed out that another limitation is that there are “many pro-inflammatory biomarkers and myokines that can be measured, so it’s very difficult to get a complete picture of how they all play a role.”

Glatt said the biggest takeaway from the study “seems to be that exercise can have an anti-inflammatory effect by increasing pro-inflammatory biomarkers and decreasing anti-inflammatory biomarkers.”

When Dr. Asked how to implement these findings, Dr. Teitelbaum said.

“Simple lifestyle changes, including exercise in the sunshine, can have huge health benefits. This can include a healthier and more balanced immune system, weight loss, and a reduced tendency to diabetes and heart disease—not to mention anxiety and depression. Go for walks in the sunshine […], and practice nutritional common sense. These simple steps can make you healthier, happier, slimmer and with a balanced immune system.”

Of course, following a healthy, balanced diet that emphasizes whole foods and limits or avoids processed foods and excess sugar can also help lower inflammation. Increasing your intake of omega-3 fatty acids may also be helpful, Dr. Teitelbaum in conclusion.

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