Navigation Links
Exercise Guards White Blood Cells Against Aging
Date:11/30/2009

In study, athletes had 'younger' immune cells than sedentary, healthy adults ,,

MONDAY, Nov. 30 (HealthDay News) -- Studies have shown that exercise can help ward off heart disease and cancer, and now new research shows that the reason why may be found within cells themselves.

Endurance athletes had longer telomeres -- DNA at the tips of chromosomes that protect the cell -- in their white blood cells than healthy, nonsmoking adults who did not exercise regularly, German researchers report.

Telomeres can be thought of as the plastic tips on the end of shoelaces, which prevent the lace from fraying, explained Emmanuel Skordalakes, an assistant professor of gene expression and regulation at The Wistar Institute in Philadelphia.

Over the life span, cells continue to divide. Each time a cell divides, the telomere is shortened. When the telomere gets too short, the cell stops dividing. When this happens, people age -- gradually losing muscle strength, skin elasticity, vision, hearing and mental abilities, and so on, Skordalakes said.

In the study, the researchers measured the length of white blood cell telomeres of endurance athletes and compared them to the telomeres of age-matched healthy nonsmokers who typically exercised less than one hour a week (the control group). Athletic participants included professional runners with an average age of 20 who ran more than 45 miles a week as part of the German National track and field team. A second group of athletes were middle-aged (average age 51) who had done endurance exercise since youth and ran an average of nearly 50 miles a week.

Not surprisingly, the athletes had a slower resting heart rate -- a sign of cardiovascular fitness -- as well as lower blood pressure, lower body mass index and lower cholesterol than those in the control group.

But the athletes also had longer telomeres than those who were of similar age but did not exercise, and the athletes showed increased activity of the enzyme telomerase, which maintains the telomere.

"This is direct evidence of an anti-aging effect of physical exercise," study author Dr. Ulrich Laufs, a professor of clinical and experimental medicine in the department of internal medicine at Saarland University in Homburg, said in a statement.

The study findings were released online Nov. 30 in advance of publication in an upcoming print issue of Circulation.

Until recently, the primary role of white blood cells was thought to be fighting off infections, said Dr. Annabelle Volgman, a cardiologist and director of the Heart Center for Women at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago.

Newer research has shown white blood cells do much more, including continuously seeking out abnormal cell growths, such as those that cause cancer, and clearing them away.

One reason why cancer rates increase with age could be that the white blood cells themselves age, and become less efficient at dealing with the abnormal growths, Volgman said. If exercise maintains the youthfulness of the white blood cells by preventing the shortening of the telomere, it may explain why exercise can protect against developing cancer.

Likewise, with heart disease, aging white blood cells (along with high blood pressure and other factors) may allow plaques to accumulate more quickly. By keeping white blood cells young, exercise may enable them to continue to efficiently clear away plaques, Volgman said.

"We know that any physical activity improves cardiovascular health and helps in preventing cancer," Volgman said. "This study is showing us the molecular basis for this."

The question, of course, is how much exercise is needed to prevent telomere shortening. Must one be a marathon runner? Or is the standard advice of walking for at least 30 minutes, most days of the week enough?

Because no one really knows the answer, Volgman said, the best advice is to do some sort of exercise regularly. Previous research has shown even moderate activity can be beneficial to the telomeres.

Exercise intensity should be guided by fitness level -- in other words, if you're used to doing vigorous exercise, keep it up. If not, do what you can without overdoing it or risking other injury.

"Not everyone has the makeup to be an elite athlete," Volgman said. "The safest thing to say is that people do need that aerobic exercise. But there are so many factors that impact aging and if you are going to get cancer or heart disease."

In addition to testing human white blood cells, researchers also used mice to study the impact of exercise on proteins that have been implicated in heart disease and cancer. The researchers found that the mice with access to a running wheel for three weeks showed increased activity of tumor-suppressing proteins and proteins that play a role in telomere length.

"What these people have shown through this study is that through activity and a healthy lifestyle, you can upregulate the levels of activity of factors that protect or play a role in maintaining the telomeres of humans and mice," Skordalakes said.

More information

The American Academy of Family Physicians has tips for starting an exercise program.



SOURCES: Emmanuel Skordalakes, Ph.D., assistant professor, gene expression and regulation, The Wistar Institute, Philadelphia; Annabelle Volgman, M.D., cardiologist and director, Heart Center for Women, Rush University Medical Center, Chicago; Nov. 30, 2009, Circulation, online


'/>"/>
Copyright©2009 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved

Related medicine news :

1. Lots of Exercise in Midlife May Lead to Osteoarthritis
2. Vigorous Exercise Cuts Stroke Risk for Men, Not Women
3. USC study to evaluate robots as exercise trainers
4. Lifelong Exercise Keeps Seniors Young at Heart
5. Active Video Games Count as Exercise
6. The benefits of exercise
7. WAVE's Revolutionary Whole-Body Advanced Vibration Exercise Is Now Available in South America
8. Research shows Tai Chi exercise reduces knee osteoarthritis pain in the elderly
9. Diet, Exercise Thwart Diabetes: Study
10. Exercise makes cigarettes less attractive to smokers
11. Texas Back Institute Shares Surprising Back Facts and Simple Exercises for National Spine Health Day, October 16
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/21/2017)... ... April 21, 2017 , ... Crossover Symmetry , an ... an active lifestyle company that provides Human Performance Training and education to tactical ... first responders, military officers and others in service through the development and conditioning ...
(Date:4/21/2017)... ... April 21, 2017 , ... Alive for Wellness is ... overcome their mental health struggles. The Alive team uses advanced behavioral sciences treatment ... in dealing with a mental health struggle is based on 10 modalities of ...
(Date:4/21/2017)... ... April 21, 2017 , ... ... much anticipated Regional Primary Care Spring Symposium on April 1, 2017 in Santa ... community, offering physicians and healthcare providers an opportunity to learn about cutting edge ...
(Date:4/21/2017)... ... April 21, 2017 , ... ... is seeking candidates to serve on its Accreditation and Standards Committees to ... ultimate mission is improving image quality and reducing patient radiation dose,” reports ...
(Date:4/21/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... April 21, 2017 , ... BrightStar Care ... partnered with Advanced Patient Care of Utah (APCUT) and has appointed Rex Wheeler as ... next chapter of growth for our agency and our ability to provide quality care ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:4/20/2017)... , April 20, 2017 Research and ... Market Size, Market Share, Application Analysis, Regional Outlook, Growth Trends, ... report to their offering. ... The global pharmacogenomics market was valued at US$ 7,167.6 Mn ... by 2024, expanding at a CAGR of 5.6% from 2016 ...
(Date:4/20/2017)... , April 20, 2017 NeuroVive Pharmaceutical ... today announced positive preclinical results demonstrating anti-fibrotic ... for non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), in an additional ... NV556 has previously shown similar anti-fibrotic ... Today, NeuroVive,s scientists present novel data demonstrating ...
(Date:4/19/2017)... 19, 2017 /PRNewswire/ - CRH Medical Corporation (TSX: CRH) (NYSE MKT: CRHM) (the ... Co. Healthcare Investor Conference 2017 at the Sheraton Hotel in ... Chief Executive Officer of the Company is scheduled to present on ... Bear and the Chairman of the Board, Tony Holler ... ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: