News FocusAutophagy

Explaining Exercise

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Science  20 Jan 2012:
Vol. 335, Issue 6066, pp. 281
DOI: 10.1126/science.335.6066.281

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Summary

Exercise has many benefits, but the mechanisms behind them remain murky. Because autophagy’s recycling of cellular contents helps cells meet energy demands, researchers wondered whether exercise triggers autophagy and if that could somehow account for exercise’s benefits. In the December issue of Autophagy, an Italian research team reported the first evidence that exercise induces autophagy in the skeletal muscles of mice. This week in Nature, other researchers confirm that observation and extend it much further, documenting that autophagy is required for exercise’s beneficial metabolic effects.

  • * Ken Garber is a science writer in Ann Arbor, Michigan.