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06 May 2022

Research provides new evidence of how exercise can counter diabetes damage
BY Tom Walker

Being physically active can counter the damage of diabetes by repairing blood vessels

Being physically active can counter the damage of diabetes by repairing blood vessels
photo: Shutterstock/Superstar

Being physically active can counter the damage of diabetes by enabling the activation of a natural system that grows new blood vessels.

Diabetes not only damages existing blood vessels, but it also hinders the innate ability to grow new ones in the face of disease and injury.

Scientists at Medical College of Georgia (MCG), however, have found that exercise can help enable angiogenesis – the formation of new blood vessels – which in turn reverses the damage caused by diabetes.

In a study published in The FASEB Journal, a team at MCG's Vascular Biology Center found the first evidence that in the face of diabetes, even one 45-minute session of moderate-intensity exercise enables more exosomes, submicroscopic packages filled with biologically active cargo, to deliver directly to those cells more of the protein, ATP7A, which can set angiogenesis in motion.

Exercise also increased the amount of the extracellular superoxide dismutase (SOD3), an important natural antioxidant produced by vascular smooth muscle cells in the walls of blood vessels, as well as skeletal muscle cells, which helps maintain healthy levels of reactive oxygen species.

Dr. Tohru Fukai, MCG vascular biologist and cardiologist and lead author of the study, said: "ATP7A levels are reduced in diabetes and we now have some of the first evidence that exosomes among those with type 2 diabetes actually impair angiogenesis.

"Synthetic exosomes, already under study as drug-delivery mechanisms, could one day work as an “exercise mimetic” to improve patients’ ability to grow new blood vessels when diabetes has damaged their innate ability."

To read the full research report, click here.



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