Research suggests that reducing your exercise can cause the body to lose a vital protein, making it more difficult to exercise.
Researchers at the University of Leeds have found that activating the Piezo1 blood flow sensor reduces the density of the capillaries that carry blood to the muscles.
The team discovered that this reduced blood flow can make it more difficult to exercise, which could lead to decreased activity.
The results, they say, help explain why exercising is more difficult when you do less.
Endothelial Piezo1 maintains muscle capillary densities and contributes to physical exercise is published in Journal of Clinical Investigation. The British Heart Foundation funded the study.
Although the experiments were done in mice, the Piezo1 protein was found in humans. This suggests that similar results could be possible.
Fiona Bartoli is a Postdoctoral researcher at the University of Leeds’ School of Medicine. She said that exercise protects against heart disease, diabetes and depression. Many people don’t exercise enough due to injury or computer use. This increases the risk of developing diseases. People who exercise less often are less fit, which can lead to a downward spiral.
“Although many responses to exercise are known, how the benefits of exercise are initially triggered at a molecular level is mysterious. Our study highlights the crucial link between physical activity and physical performance made at this level by Piezo1. Keeping our Piezo1s active by exercising may be crucial in our physical performance and health.”
Scientists compared two groups: a control and a Piezo1-deficient group of mice for 10 weeks. The Piezo1 mice showed a marked decrease in walking, climbing, and running wheel activity. This indicates that Piezo1 plays an important role in maintaining normal physical activity.
Researchers looked into whether Piezo1 mice were more interested in exercise. However, they found no difference in the duration or amount of activity between them. The researchers found that the mice were less able to run and had a slower pace, which suggests a lower desire to exercise.
Professor David Beech from the University of Leeds’ School of Medicine was supervising author. He said that “our work sheds new light” on how Piezo1 plays a role in blood vessel development and is linked to physical activity. While there was much already known about the role of Piezo1 in blood vessel formation, little was known about its contributions to vessel maintenance in adults.
“Our discovery also provides an opportunity to think about how loss of muscle function could be treated in new ways: if we activate Piezo1, it might help to maintain exercise capability.”