Team McCallum

R&D for Lifetime of Life

Exercise and disease genes.

A group of scientists from Finland and the US have found that there is a genetic component to exercise, that this component is strongly linked to disease resistance, and that those without these genes are prone to obesity, metabolic syndrome and the illnesses which arise from this. This was not a study in ‘fat’ genes but in ‘exercise’ genes.

The team took rats and gave them free access to a running wheel. Those which freely chose to run the most were called high capacity runners (HCRs). Those that chose to run very little were called low capacity runners (LCRs). Then the team made sure that HCRs bred only with HCRs, and LCRS with LCRs.

Different features of the final findings appeared at different generations, as a mix of genetics and environment kicked in.

The team did not look at single genes. Instead, they considered related groups they called centroids, where a centroid is associated with a known biological system (such as fatty acid use by muscles). In total, they found 7 centroids covering 141 genes were signficantly different between HCRs and LCRs.

There were enormous differences between the rats by the 18th generation. HCRs voluntarily ran over 6 times farther and had a higher resting metabolic rate. The LCRs were 25% heavier, and since the HCRs had more muscle mass, the increase was largely in fat. The LCRs had the signs of metabolic syndrome – higher blood glucose, higher insulin, higher triglycerides and lower ‘good’ cholesterol.

The HCRs also had an upregulated immune system, making them more resistant to all types of disease,

The study appears in the journal FASEB. According to the editor of FASEB, Dr Gerald Weissman, “Genes that increase resistance to common diseases in high-runner rats are also present across species”.

So in addition to ‘fat’ genes, there are ‘exercise’ genes and ‘health’ genes.


November 1, 2010 - Posted by | Exercise, Genetics, Health, Metabolic syndrome, Obesity, Success, Weight management

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