We know that exercise benefits the mind and body, but we don’t know how it affects us at the molecular level.
So UT Health San Antonio and UT Medical Branch at Galveston are teaming up to study how exercise changes the body at the smallest level. The project is funded through $4.5 million from the National Institutes of Health over the next six years. The funds are the first from the NIH Common Fund for its Molecular Transducers of Physical Activity in Humans Consortium. They were distributed to the Texas team and other groups nationwide.
“We have long understood that exercising is beneficial to our overall health, but we don’t fully understand the impact of exercise at the molecular level,” said NIH Director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D. “The development of a so-called molecular map of circulating signals produced by physical activity will allow us to discover, at a fundamental level, how physical activity affects our health. This knowledge should allow researchers and doctors to develop individually targeted exercise recommendations and better help those who are unable to exercise.”
A team led by UT Health San Antonio’s Nicolas Musi, M.D., and Blake Rasmussen, Ph.D., at the UT Medical Branch at Galveston, is one of six groups that will recruit healthy adults for an exercise study. The investigators will collect blood, urine and tissue samples from active and sedentary volunteers who will perform resistance or aerobic exercises. These samples will be shared with colleagues at the consortium’s Chemical Analysis Sites.
“Previous research by my laboratory has centered on the effects of exercise on the mitochondria, which function as the power plants of the cells,” said Dr. Musi, professor in the Joe R. & Teresa Lozano Long School of Medicine and director of the Barshop Institute for Longevity and Aging Studies.
“Exercise increases the size and number of the mitochondria. Information gleaned from this new study funded by NIH will further enhance our understanding of the physiological benefits