Life Lines by Dr. Dolittle

Sponsored by the American Physiological Society

The Integrative Biology of Exercise VII – Day 3

Highlights from Day 3!


The costs of being a father?

California mouse

Jacob Andrew et al. from the University of California – Riverside presented a poster examining the long-term effects of fatherhood in California mice (Peromyscus californicus). California mice are monogamous and biparental, like humans. This means that both parents participate in taking care of offspring. In prior research they found that first-time fathers did not experience many changes in their physiology, locomotion or in the structure of their organs (Physiological and Biochemical Zoology 89(2):130–140. 2016). In this work they have begun to explore changes in fathers after they had multiple litters to determine the long-term physiological costs and benefits of fatherhood.

Low-intensity interval exercise training to treat heart failure


mini pig

Photo of miniature pig By Correogsk – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Dylan Olver et al. from the University of Missouri – Columbia presented a poster on Yucatan mini-swine. The team wanted to know whether the absence of a specific potassium channel, that is activated by changes in calcium, is responsible for causing vascular disorders in mini-swine that had heart failure and whether exercise could be used as a treatment. The mini-swine underwent low-intensity interval exercise training or low-intensity continuous exercise training. They found that low-intensity interval training was the most effective intervention to treat complications associated with heart failure. The hope is this research may someday help humans with heart failure as well. 

Sex-differences in aging muscle profiles

hawk moth

Hawk moth photo By R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company Slide Set, R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, – (cropped), CC BY 3.0 us, via Wikimedia Commons

Beate Wone et al. from the University of South Dakota  presented a poster examining the effects of aging on muscles from hawk moths (Manduca sexta)Moths were used because their muscles age similar to vertebrates.  They found that there were some sex differences in metabolic markers with females showing variations in expression of indicators of metabolism during the daytime compared to night. In addition, expression of these indicators decreased with age in females. In contrast, there were no difference in expression in males regardless of time of day or age.

Excercise improves muscle strength in aging muscles

LaDora V Thompson et al. from the University of Minnesota presented a seminar examining whether exercise could reverse frailty in old mice. Frailty is a term used to describe age-related decreases in muscle strength and metabolism. As you can imagine, it is a major cause of disabilities and morbidities associated with aging. The team of researchers identified old mice that showed signs of frailty and then housed these animals with a running wheel for 4 weeks. By simply inserting a running wheel into the cage to encourage voluntary wheel running, the researchers found that aerobic exercise reversed frailty by improving muscle contraction and expression of proteins important for muscle metabolism.

Interestingly, I came across this YouTube video showing that if researchers placed a running wheel outside it attracts all kinds of animals. I admit it does look like fun. I wonder if people would exercise more if they could use a running wheel instead of a treadmill…

Categories: Aging, Diet and Exercise, Illnesses and Injuries, Physiology on the Road, Reproduction and Development

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