Endurance exercise and selective breeding for longevity extend Drosophila healthspan by overlapping mechanisms

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Abstract

© Sujkowski et al. Endurance exercise has emerged as a powerful intervention that promotes healthy aging by maintaining the functional capacity of critical organ systems. In addition, long-term exercise reduces the incidence of age-related diseases in humans and in model organisms. Despite these evident benefits, the genetic pathways required for exercise interventions to achieve these effects are still relatively poorly understood. Here, we compare gene expression changes during endurance training in Drosophila melanogaster to gene expression changes during selective breeding for longevity. Microarrays indicate that 65% of gene expression changes found in flies selectively bred for longevity are also found in flies subjected to three weeks of exercise training. We find that both selective breeding and endurance training increase endurance, cardiac performance, running speed, flying height, and levels of autophagy in adipose tissue. Both interventions generally upregulate stress defense, folate metabolism, and lipase activity, while downregulating carbohydrate metabolism and odorant receptor expression. Several members of the methuselah-like (mthl) gene family are downregulated by both inter ventions. Knockdown of mthl-3 was sufficient to provide extension of negative geotaxis behavior, endurance and cardiac stress resistance. These results provide support for endurance exercise as a broadly acting anti-aging intervention and confirm that exercise training acts in part by targeting longevity assurance pathways.

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Sujkowski, A., Bazzell, B., Carpenter, K., Arking, R., & Wessells, R. J. (2015). Endurance exercise and selective breeding for longevity extend Drosophila healthspan by overlapping mechanisms. Aging, 7(8), 535–552. https://doi.org/10.18632/aging.100789

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