In animal studies, researchers have found that exercise may energize brain cell function. The risk of neurodegenerative diseases increases and our brain cells produce less energy to remain fully functional.
Researchers uncovered an enzyme – SIRT3 – located in the mitochondria – cell powerhouse – that may protect mice brains against stresses that can contribute to energy loss. They also found that mice on a wheel increased their levels of the protective enzyme.
The researchers uncovered the following in their findings:
- Mice models that did not produce the protective enzyme were highly sensitive to stress when exposed to neurotoxins that cause neurodegenerative disease and epileptic seizures.
- Running on a wheel increased the amount of protective enzyme in the mice that protected them against the degeneration – in mice that lacked the enzyme, running on the wheel failed to protect the neurons.
- Gene therapy technology could protect neurons against stress and increase the levels of SIRT3.
The findings suggest boosting SIRT3 could help prevent age-related cognitive decline, energize brain cell function and slow down other cognitive diseases.
The findings were published in Cell Metabolism.