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WHY EXERCISE PROTECTS AGAINST TYPE 2 DIABETES AND OTHER DISORDERS?
But how exercise provides this protection has been a mystery so far.Now a new study suggests that exercise prompts cells to break down unwanted proteins and other cellular junk to produce more energy .
The process ,called autophagy ,may explain how exercise fends of metabolic disorders like diabetes and protects against other diseases.
Self -consumption by a cell is called Autophagia and or autophagy.
Autophagy is like a ,"celluar garbage disposal",says researcher Beth Levine,who has been studying this process for more than a decade .
HOW AUTOPHAGY WORKS AT THE CELLULAR LEVEL ?
It is a two step process -first a double membrane is formed around the unwanted cargo inside the cell ,enveloping it .
This membrane then fuses with an specialised part of a cell called lysosome .This contains enzymes that rush in and breakdown the contents .The bits and pieces created by this process get recycled ,providing raw material for new structures or a burst of energy .
AUTOPHAGY KEEPS CELLS HEALTHY:
Autophagy gets rid of all of the obsolete and abnormal structures .It also helps cells survive lean times .Autophagy canabalise unwanted proteins and other junk,for nutrients .
It was known that starvation can trigger autophagy .The auothor of the study Levine suspected exercise ,because it increases cells'energy demands ,might have a similar effect .
TESTING THE HYPOTHESIS:
Levine used transgenic mice (mice is the pural of mouse )whose cells produce a glowing green protein whenever autophagy occurs.
The researchers then placed these mice on treadmills .After 30 minutes of running ,the rodents' muscle and heart cells were speckled with green dots ,evidence of increased autophagy .
"THAT WAS A BRAND NEW FINDING ," LEVINE SAYS.
IN A PAPER IN THE JOURNAL NATURE ,RESEARCGERS REPORT THAT EXERCISE ALSO INCREASE AUTOPHAGY IN THE LIVER AND PANCREAS ,ORGANS INVOLVED IN GLUCOSE METABOLISM.
THE PURPOSE OF AUTOPHAGY:
Now Levine and her team set out to determine what purpose the autophagy serves.They engineered mice that could undergo autophagy ,but due to a mutation in a gene called B-Cell lymphoma 2 ,lacked the ability to ramp up autophagy during exercise .The gene is known to inhibit cell death and plays a key role in regulating autophagy.
when ,these researchers placed these mutant mice on the tread mill ,they found that they could not run as long as normal mice .A closer look revealed that the mice were not metabolising sugar properly .When a normal mouse put on a treadmill ,its muscle cells kick into overdrive ,increasing their uptake of sugar .The findings suggest that increased autophagy may be the reason why exercise protects against type 2 diabetes and other disorders .
Reference material :-SCI -TECH/MUMBAI MIRROR ,JANURAY 20,2012,P23.