Scientists delve into the different effects of morning and evening exercise

Atlas of exercise metabolism. Credit: Shoujo Sato

Exercise is well proven to improve health, and recent research has shown that exercise benefits the body in different ways, depending on the time of day. However, scientists still don’t know why the timing of exercise produces these different effects. To gain a better understanding, an international team of scientists recently conducted the most comprehensive study to date of exercise performed at different times of the day.

Their research shows how the body produces different health-promoting signaling molecules in an organ-specific manner after exercise depending on the time of day. These signals have a significant impact on health, affecting sleep, memory, exercise performance, and metabolic balance. Their findings were recently published in the journal cell metabolism.

Says Professor Juleen R. Zierath of the Karolinska Institute and the Novo Nordisk Foundation’s Center for Basic Metabolic Research (CBMR) at the University of Copenhagen.

Using exercise to fix a flaw in the body clock

Almost all cells regulate their biological processes over a 24-hour period, which is also called the circadian rhythm. This means that the sensitivity of different tissues to the effects of exercise changes depending on the time of day. Previous research has confirmed that timing exercise according to our circadian rhythm can improve the health-promoting effects of exercise.

The international team of scientists wanted a more detailed understanding of this effect, so they conducted a set of experiments on mice that exercised either early in the morning or late in the evening. Various blood and tissue samples including brain, heart, muscle, liver, and fat were collected and analyzed by mass spectrometry. This allowed the scientists to discover hundreds of different metabolites and hormone-signaling molecules in each tissue, and to monitor how they changed through exercise at different times of the day.

The result is an ‘Exercise Metabolic Atlas’ – a comprehensive map of exercise-induced signaling molecules present in different tissues after exercise at different times of the day.

“Because this is the first comprehensive study to summarize time-dependent metabolism and exercise on multiple tissues, it is critical to establish and refine systemic models of metabolism and crosstalk among organs,” adds Dominic Lotter, Head of Computational Discovery Research from Helmholtz Diabetes Hospital. Center in Helmholtz Munich.

New insights include a deeper understanding of how tissues communicate with each other, and how exercise can help “reorganize” faulty circadian rhythms in certain tissues — faulty biological clocks have been linked to increased risks of obesity and type 2 diabetes. Finally, the study identified molecules The new signals induced by exercise in multiple tissues, which need further investigation to understand how they may individually or collectively affect health.

“We not only show how different tissues respond to exercise at different times of the day, but also suggest how these responses relate to inducing the orderly adaptation that controls systemic energy balance,” says Associate Professor Jonas Tho Trebak of CBMR at the University of Copenhagen, and co-first author. for publication.

A resource for future exercise research

The study has many limitations. Experiments were performed on mice. While mice share many genetic, physiological, and behavioral characteristics in common with humans, they also have important differences. For example, mice are nocturnal, and the type of exercise was also limited to running on a treadmill, which can lead to different results compared to high-intensity exercise. Finally, the effect of gender, age, and disease was not taken into account in the analysis.

Says Associate Professor Shogo Sato of the Department of Biology and Clocks Research Biology Center at Texas A&M University, and co-first author.

Associate first author Kenneth Diar, chair of the department of metabolic physiology from the Helmholtz Diabetes Center in Helmholtz Munich, stressed the usefulness of the atlas as a comprehensive resource for exercise biologists. “While our resources provide important new perspectives on energy metabolites and known signaling molecules, this is just the tip of the iceberg. We show some examples of how we can extract our data to identify new tissues and time-bound signaling molecules,” he says.

Exercise can have different effects in the morning and evening

more information:
Juleen R. Zierath, Atlas of Exercise Metabolism Reveals Time-Dependent Markers in Metabolic Homeostasis, cell metabolism (2022). doi: 10.1016/j.cmet.2021.12.016.

Presented by the Helmholtz Association of German Research Centers

the quote: Scientists delve into the different effects of morning and evening exercise (2022, Jan 13) Retrieved Jan 14, 2022 from

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