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Exercising Human Muscles Independently Staves Off Chronic Inflammation


Scientists in the department of biomedical engineering at Duke University have revealed that exercising human muscles has an intrinsic ability to heal painful inflammation. The study focused on exploring how human skeletal muscle strength and structure are affected by a chemical messenger molecule, interferon gamma, typically elevated in inflammatory diseases.


The study is published in the journal Science Advances in an article titled, “Exercise Mimetics and JAK Inhibition Attenuate IFN-γ-induced Wasting in Engineered Human Skeletal Muscle.”


Earlier studies in humans and animals have shown exercise can help mitigate the effects of inflammation but the role of muscle fibers themselves in the process had not been explored nor their interactions with inflammation-instigating molecules, such as interferon gamma.


“Lots of processes are taking place throughout the human body during exercise, and it is difficult to tease apart which systems and cells are doing what inside an active person,” said Nenad Bursac, PhD, professor of biomedical engineering at Duke. “Our engineered muscle platform is modular, meaning we can mix and match various types of cells and tissue components if we want to. But in this case, we discovered that the muscle cells were capable of taking anti-inflammatory actions all on their own.”

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