New findings published in the journal Molecular Metabolism unveils for the first time how the positive health effects of physical exercise may be the result of changes to the structure of DNA.
The study was initiated by experts at the University of Copenhagen.
“We hypothesized that endurance exercise training remodels the activity of gene enhancers in skeletal muscle and that this remodeling contributes to the beneficial effects of exercise on human health,” Kristine Williams and her colleagues wrote in the findings.
“By studying changes in histone modifications, we mapped the genome-wide positions and activities of enhancers in skeletal muscle biopsies collected from young sedentary men before and after 6 weeks of endurance exercise.”
“We identified extensive remodeling of enhancer activities after exercise training, with a large subset of the remodeled enhancers located in the proximity of genes transcriptionally regulated after exercise. By overlapping the position of enhancers with genetic variants, we identified an enrichment of disease-associated genetic variants within the exercise-remodeled enhancers.”
As highlighted in the findings, the study showcases a functional link between epigenetic rewiring of enhancers to control activity after exercise and the ‘modulation of disease risk in humans.’