New research appearing in the forthcoming Journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, a team led by the Department of Kinesiology’s Gianni Parise has found that exercise stimulates influential stem cells to transform into bone instead of fat. This enhances the body’s capacity to produce blood thereby improving overall health.
Mesenchymal stem cells in the body are most likely to transform into either fat or bone, considering the path followed by them.
Associate professor Parise said that compared to sedentary mice, the thrice a week exercising mice ran less than an hour, which was adequate to have a considerable effect on their blood production. In treadmill-conditioned mice, aerobic exercise was found to stimulate stem cells to transform more often into bone than fat compared to sedentary mice, wherein the same stem cells were more likely to transform into fat, thereby hindering blood production in the marrow bone cavities.
Parise says, “The interesting thing was that a modest exercise program was able to significantly increase blood cells in the marrow and in circulation. What we’re suggesting is that exercise is a potent stimulus — enough of a stimulus to actually trigger a switch in these mesenchymal stem cells.”
Blood stem-cell production is largely influenced by the composition of cells in the bone marrow cavity.
Healthy blood produced by blood stem cells under ideal conditions heightens immune-system functionality, facilitates efficient oxygen uptake, and improves wound clotting ability. While bone cells enhance the conditions under which blood is produced by blood stem cells, fat cells fill up the bone marrow cavity. This is a widespread indication of sedentary behavior that renders the blood stem cells to become less efficient, resulting in conditions such as anemia. Parise says that the findings contribute to the knowledge pool of the “well-known” benefits of exercise, and adds that blood-related disorders might witness novel non-medicinal treatments in the future.
He says, “Some of the impact of exercise is comparable to what we see with pharmaceutical intervention. Exercise has the ability to impact stem cell biology. It has the ability to influence how they differentiate.”