UCLA study investigates link between exercise and stem cell restoration

By Yashila Suresh | Daily Bruin

A UCLA study published in May found that exercise can rejuvenate stem cells in aging mice.

Dr. Thomas Rando, director of the UCLA Broad Stem Cell Research Center and head of the study, said the research aimed to investigate how stem cells – which have the ability to develop into different types of cells in the body – can be better utilized to reduce the effects of aging, including chronic inflammation, cardiovascular diseases and cancer.

The study found that regular exercise reduced inflammation in mice, specifically in groups of stem cells in the blood, brain and muscle. In particular, older mice experienced inflammation reduction in skeletal muscle and restoration of communication between cells, the latter of which is vital for cell development and function.

“You can start, even in old age, the function of stem cells,” Rando said. “We end up concluding that, if these studies are generalizable, then we see that exercising old mice would also be applicable to humans.”

William Lowry, associate director of education and technology transfer at the UCLA Broad Stem Cell Research Center, said research like Rando’s has potential for use in future therapy.

“If you can wake up stem cells during aging, maybe you can prevent the onset of aging,” he said.

Lowry, whose own research focuses on how hair follicle stem cells can serve as a model for developmental disorders and cancer, added that stem cell research is still a growing field with much potential because of the many different applications of stem cells in the human body and scientific research.


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May 2023