Endurance sports keep both muscles and nerves fit
Researchers have revealed that in addition to keeping muscles fit, endurance sport also improves the neuronal connections to the muscle fibers based on a muscle-induced feedback.
This link has been discovered by a research group at the Biozentrum of the University of Basel. The group was also able to induce the same effect through raising the protein concentration of PGC1a in the muscle.
The motor neuron (red) is connected to the synaptic endplate on the muscle fiber (green). It is well known that a regular run through the forest makes muscles fit. Responsible for this effect is the protein PGC1a, which plays a central role in the adaptation of muscles to training. The research team led by Prof. Christoph Handschin has discovered that such endurance training not only affects the condition of the muscles but also the upstream synaptic neuronal connections in a muscle-dependent manner.
The scientists have been able to demonstrate that the increase in muscle PGC1a concentration also improves the upstream synaptic nerve connections to the result of this feedback from muscle to the motor neuron: The health of the synapse improves and its activation pattern adapts to meet the requirements of the muscle.
The study has been published in the journal Nature Communications.
(Posted on 03-04-2014)