Everyday, our cells receive epigenetic information from outside the cell sources, including exercise, nutrition, environment and emotion, and these are likely to have an impact on us and our descendants. Regular exercise can maintain physical fitness, and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and cancer. Understanding the mechanisms can help us make reasonable physical exercise. Today’ topic is the relationship of long-term exercise and DNA methylation.
Though there is still limited knowledge about the exact mechanism, researchers find some clues. After analyzing the genome-wide DNA methylation pattern in skeletal muscle and adipose tissue from the men before and after the exercise intervention, the majority of the genes shows decreased DNA methylation in skeletal muscle, while increased DNA methylation in adipose tissue. Probably because the adiponectin receptor shows differential DNA methylation and mRNA expression between these tissues in response to exercise. Exercise-induced changes of DNA methylation also effects candidate genes for type 2 diabetes. In addition, some studies indicate that physical activity after breast cancer diagnosis can produce effects on epigenetic regulation of tumor suppressor genes.
These epigenetic changes results in altered gene expression and improved metabolism, and could subsequently be one explanation for how exercise improves health.