Monday, February 13, 2012

It is all getting epigenetic now

Reading through a few abstracts today I was noticing how lots of research is looking at epigenetics - how environmental factors affect the status of genes - which ones are turned on or off to over simplify things. Here is a typical one

Effects of mild-exercise training cessation in human skeletal muscle

Stoppage of endurance exercise training leads to complete loss of maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max) gain but not submaximal exercise blood lactate concentrations. However, the detailed mechanisms are still unknown. Thus, we investigated the effects of exercise-training cessation at lactate threshold (LT) intensity on physiological adaptations and global mRNA expressions in human skeletal muscle. The VO2max, muscle capillaries density and global gene expression were measured after 12 weeks of LT training, and after 12 weeks of detraining. Twelve weeks of detraining reversed the effect of 12 weeks LT training on VO2max and VO2 at LT intensity, although the later value was higher than the pre-training level. Moreover, the training cessation did not affect the number of capillaries around type I fiber, which was increased by training. The training modulated 243 characterized transcripts, in which 77% showed a significant reversible effect by detraining. However, the transcripts most-induced by the training were still elevated after the same period of detraining. The pathway and network analysis revealed that these genes were related to oxidative phosphorylation (OxPhos), calcium signalling and tissue development. Therefore, these physiological and transcriptional changes suggest improved oxygen supply and OxPhos in the skeletal muscle, which may contribute to the incomplete loss of absolute VO2 at LT intensity after training cessation. The present study does not only demonstrate, for the first time, sustained effects of training after detraining at the transcriptional level, but also indicates the possible signalling pathways.

The researchers are no longer just looking at what the exercise or cessation of exercise does directly to the body.   Beyond that they are looking at how exercise changes gene expression.  In this case, exercise seems to have long lasting impacts on the genes that enhance oxidative phosphorylation (OxPhos), calcium signalling and tissue development.  These changes persist even when people stop training.

It is really fascinating.  Exercise changes what your genes set you up for.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

genetic != epigenetic

by definition, an epigenetic change is a heritable (across cell divisions) change that occurs upon the genome. it does not change the genetic sequence; changing the genetic sequence at epigenetic regulatory regions typically leads to steady-state silencing.