Exercise strengthens bones and immunity

Researchers at the Children's Medical Center Research Institute (CRI) in Utah (USA) have determined that movement-induced stimulation of bone-forming cells and lymphocytes is necessary for bone health and immunity. The study was published in Nature.

The researchers found that the mechanical forces generated by walking or running are transmitted from the surfaces of the bone along blood vessels to the bone marrow inside. The osteoblasts (bone-forming cells) lining the vessels on the outside sense these forces and begin to divide. The formation of new cells leads to thickening of the bones. In addition, these cells also secrete growth factor, which promotes the formation of lymphocytes around the vessels. Lymphocytes are the B- and T-cells that allow the immune system to fight infections.

Experiments found that in the absence of mechanical forces acting on osteoblasts, the division process slowed down, resulting in thinner bones and a reduced ability of the body to resist bacterial infection.

Scientists also looked more closely at LepR+ cells (osteolectin-positive cells), which produce osteolectin. It was shown that the number of such cells and lymphocytes decreased with age. The scientists decided to see if this trend could be reversed. To do this, they placed a jogging wheel in the mice's cages so that the animals could exercise. The result was that the bones of the agile mice became stronger with exercise, and the number of osteolectin-positive cells and lymphocyte-producing cells around the arterioles increased. This was the first indication that mechanical stimulation regulates cell formation in the bone marrow. In addition, osteolectin-positive cells express on their surface a receptor known as Piezo1, which transmits signals within the cell in response to mechanical forces. When this receptor was removed from the cells in mice, division was slowed, which weakened the bones and impaired the body's immune responses.

Feb. 26, 2021, 10:04 a.m.

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