Exercise-Activated Enzyme Is New Target for Anti-Aging Drugs

Mar, 2022 - By WMR

Exercise-Activated Enzyme Is New Target for Anti-Aging Drugs

Scientists in Australia have discovered a new enzyme activated by exercise which could be targeted as anti-aging drugs.

Regular exercise is generally a good idea at any age, but maintaining an active lifestyle with age is especially important. Scientists at Monash University, Melbourne, have found the causes of new enzymes produced by exercise that help reduce metabolic health. This is a new discovery for potential drugs that protect against the effects of aging. The study was designed to find one of the consequences of physical inactivity in the elderly, such as the development of insulin resistance. Insulin resistance means that the body's cells do not respond well to insulin and do not take in glucose as they should, instead they leave it to accumulate in the blood. Insulin resistance is linked with obesity and is a high-risk factor for type-2 diabetes, and the authors looked for identifying some of the biological mechanisms associated with reduced physical activity in the elderly population.

The scientists have shown that physical activity promotes metabolic health by producing Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS) in skeletal muscle. ROS is definitely produced in skeletal muscle, but it decreases with age, which helps boost insulin resistance, according to researchers. By experimenting on rats, scientists discovered a new enzyme called NOX4, which was at the center of this process. Enzyme levels increased in rats after exercising, due to which ROS levels increased and it protected rats from developing insulin resistance. This was especially true in older rats and rats with diet-inspired obesity.

Experiments have also shown that the concentration of NOX4 in skeletal muscle is directly related to aging and decreased insulin sensitivity. This is in collateral with research published in November 2021 that shows how plant extracts can increase insulin resistance by imitating skeletal muscle growth factors in obese subjects. Likewise, the authors of this study suggest that NOX4 has the potential to be targeted with drugs that increase metabolism and maintain metabolic health in the elderly. They also think that this solution can be found in nature, but much work has to be done before it can be translated into medicine.

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