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It is not too late to make a New Year’s resolution: Exercise more

Cardiovascular diseases such as hypertension are associated with a generalized skeletal myopathy showing a pro-apoptotic phenotype. Recent evidence suggests that exercise may alter apoptosis-related signaling in skeletal muscle. To study the effect of exercise on skeletal muscle DNA fragmentation and apoptotic signaling in hypertensive animals, McMillan and coworkers from the University of Waterloo (Canada) assigned normotensive and spontaneously hypertensive rats to a sedentary or an exercise environment. Consistent with their previous work, they found that the soleus muscle of hypertensive animals had significantly higher DNA fragmentation (a hallmark of apoptosis), elevated pro-apoptotic factors such as caspase-3 activity (measured with Enzo’s Ac-DEVD-AMC substrate and Ac-DEVD-CHO inhibitor), and lower anti-apoptotic protein levels compared with normotensive rats. In addition, the soleus muscle of hypertensive animals displayed myosin accumulation and DNA fragmentation as well as elevated cytosolic cytochrome c, apoptosis inducing factor (AIF) and second mitochondrial-derived activator of caspase (Smac) levels when compared with normotensive animals. Results were obtained by Western blot quantification using Enzo antibodies. Interestingly, exercise training significantly lowered DNA fragmentation and myosin accumulation/fragmentation as well as cytosolic levels of cytochrome c and AIF content in the soleus muscle of hypertensive rats. This beneficial response is likely due to exercise-mediated elevations in Bcl-2, heat shock protein 70, and manganese superoxide dismutase protein content, as well as reductions in Bax protein levels and the Bax-to-Bcl-2 ratio. These results provide another great reason to get active, suggesting that regular exercise provides protection against skeletal muscle apoptosis. Research literature on health consciousness and wellness attitudes such as exercise or healthy eating and their relation to better health, more work productivity and longer life is burgeoning.
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Enzo Life Sciences offers a comprehensive portfolio for cell death analysis including enzymes, substrates, inhibitors, antibodies, biochemicals, activity and detection kits; some of which are described below:

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  • McMillan EM, et al. Decreased DNA fragmentation and apoptotic signaling in soleus muscle of hypertensive rats following 6 weeks of treadmill training. J. Appl. Physiol. (2012) 113: 1048.

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