APS: Exercise in old age protects against telomere dysfunction

April 8, 2024  15:14

Scientists from the University of Utah (USA) have discovered that regular aerobic exercise prevents dangerous genome instability characterised by DNA damage and telomere dysfunction in elderly mice. The results of the scientific paper are presented on the American Physiological Society (APS) website.

In a four-month study, male mice were given access to a running wheel. The mice were divided into groups based on their interest in the exercise and regular running speed (high, medium and low). The scientists aimed to find out whether an aerobic exercise such as running could protect against age-related genome damage and telomere dysfunction.

Telomeres are regions at the ends of a chromosome that protect it from damage and "sticking" to other chromosomes.  Their dysfunction entails dangerous consequences for cells and for the organism as a whole - mutations, activation of proto-oncogenes with subsequent tumour growth.

The results of an experiment on mice showed that rodents running at a later age had better functioning telomeres. This means that the physically active mice were protected from mutations and age-related DNA damage. There was also a beneficial effect of exercise on the cardiovascular system of the animals.

Scientists noted that the results of their work may lay the foundation for the development of new, individual programmes to improve human health.

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