Aging is associated with a decline in autophagy and a state of low-grade inflammation which further affects apoptosis and autophagy. Importantly, these alterations could reverse with regular physical activity. This study assessed the effects of a resistance exercise training program on autophagy, NLRP3 inflammasome, and apoptosis in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) from old subjects. Twenty-six healthy women and men (age, 69.6±1.5 yr) were randomized to a training (TG) or a control (CG) group. TG performed an 8-week resistance training program, while CG followed their daily routines. Protein expression of beclin-1, Atg12, Atg16 and LAMP-2 increased following the training program, while expression of p62/SQSTM1 and phosphorylation of ULK-1 at Ser757 were significantly lower. Resistance exercise also induced a decrease in NLRP3 expression and in the caspase-1/procaspase-1 ratio. Expression of Bcl-2 and Bcl-xL, as well as the Bad/BcL-2 ratio were reduced, and there was a significant decrease in the protein content of caspase-3. The results obtained seem to indicate that 8-week resistance training stimulates autophagy, prevents NLRP3 inflammasome activation, and reduces apoptosis in PBMCs from elderly subjects. These data could have a significant impact in prevention and rehabilitation programs currently employed in elderly population.
Autophagy is a molecular process essential for the maintenance of cellular homeostasis, which appears to (i) decline with age and (ii) respond to physical exercise. In addition, recent evidence suggests a crosstalk between autophagy and toll-like receptor (TLR)-associated inflammatory responses. This study assessed the effects of aerobic exercise training on autophagy and TLR signaling in older subjects. Twentynine healthy women and men (age, 69.7 ± 1.0 year) were randomized to a training (TG) or a control (CG) group. TG performed an 8-week aerobic training program, while CG followed their daily routines. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells were isolated from blood samples obtained before and after the intervention, and protein levels of protein 1 light chain 3 (LC3), sequestosome 1 (p62/SQSTM1), beclin-1, phosphorylated unc-51-like kinase (ULK-1), ubiquitin-like autophagy-related (Atg)12, Atg16, and lysosome-associated membrane protein (LAMP)-2 were measured. TLR2 and TLR4 signaling pathways were also analyzed. Peak oxygen uptake increased in TG after the intervention. Protein expression of beclin-1, Atg12, Atg16, and the LC3II/I ratio increased following the training program (p < 0.05), while expression of p62/SQSTM1 and phosphorylation of ULK-1 at Ser 757 were lower (p < 0.05). Protein content of TLR2, TLR4, myeloid differentiation primary response gen 88 (MyD88), and TIR domaincontaining adaptor-inducing interferon (TRIF) were not significantly modified by exercise. The current data indicate that aerobic exercise training induces alterations in multiple markers of autophagy, which seem to be unrelated to changes in TLR2 and TLR4 signaling pathways. These results expand knowledge on exerciseinduced autophagy adaptations in humans and suggest that the exercise type employed may be a key factor explaining the potential relationship between autophagy and TLR pathways.
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