Exercise Discovery Could Save Lives of Sickest Patients

Source: University of Virginia

Summary: In a new discovery researchers have found that how exercise protects us from diseases among the sickest patients and most gravely injured.

People who suffer from severe trauma or sepsis (full body infection) often develop multiple organ dysfunction syndrome (MODS). It’s as if the immune system instead of attacking the infection, turns against the patient and attacks the vital organs. In intensive care units, MODS is considered to be the primary cause of death and killing almost 80% of the people who develop it. In a new discovery, researchers at the University of Virginia School of Medicine have found that how exercise protects from diseases among the sickest patients and most gravely injured. The findings were published in the journal Free Radical Biology & Medicine.

Exercise saves sepsis patients

UVA researcher Zhen Yan found that an antioxidant produced by skeletal muscles during exercise may be able to halve deaths from a condition that causes 80 percent of deaths in clinical ICUs. Credit: UVA Health System

Researchers suggest that skeletal muscles in our body naturally make an antioxidant which helps to get rid of excessive free radicals. The antioxidant, EcSOD is one of the mechanisms by which exercise protects the body against diseases. The antioxidant helps by acting as the first line of defense and prevents inflammatory cells from accumulating inside the vital organs. More clear understanding of the mechanism will help the researchers to strategically design better pharmacological and genetic interventions. Clinically this has huge implications which indicate the importance of regular exercise in keeping us more resistant to many disease conditions.

Zhen Yan said, “In the condition of sepsis and severe trauma, our defense system becomes exaggerated to the point that [the body’s immune defenses] misunderstand the signal, so that they begin to attack the organs”, “Our body is mistakenly thinking there is a danger signal coming from the organs themselves.”

More Information: Jarrod A. Call et al. “Muscle-derived extracellular superoxide dismutase inhibits endothelial activation and protects against multiple organ dysfunction syndrome in mice”, Free Radical Biology & Medicine (2017).



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