Diabetes not only damages existing blood vessels but also hinders the body’s innate ability to grow new ones in the face of disease and injury.
Scientists at Medical College of Georgia (MCG), however, have found that exercise can help enable angiogenesis – the formation of new blood vessels – which in turn reverses the damage caused by diabetes.
In a study published in The FASEB Journal, a team at MCG’s Vascular Biology Center found the first evidence that in the face of diabetes, even one 45-minute session of moderate-intensity exercise prompts the release of more exosomes into the blood to deliver more of the protein ATP7A directly to cells, which can set angiogenesis in motion. Exosomes are submicroscopic packages filled with biologically active ‘cargo’.
One cardio session
In a sample of healthy 50-something-year-olds, one cardio session increased levels of ATP7A in the exosomes that attached to endothelial cells.
Exercise also increased levels of extracellular superoxide dismutase (SOD3), an important natural antioxidant produced by vascular smooth muscle cells in the walls of blood vessels, as well as skeletal muscle cells, which helps maintain healthy levels of reactive oxygen species or ROS.
ROS is a natural byproduct of our use of oxygen that is an important cell signal, enabling a variety of functions. But in diabetes, high blood sugar levels result in higher ROS levels that instead hinder important normal functions.
Dr Tohru Fukai, MCG vascular biologist and cardiologist and lead author of the study, said: “ATP7A levels are reduced in diabetes and we now have some of the first evidence that exosomes actually impair angiogenesis among those with Type 2 diabetes.
Read the full research report: Exercise improves angiogenic function of circulating exosomes in type 2 diabetes: Role of exosomal SOD3 at www.hcmmag.com/angiogenic