This the dilemma faced by the average mesenchymal stem cell hanging around in your body.
Adult stem cells get to choose
Stem cells are not just the prized possession of the developing embryo, we all have them.
In grown ups, the adult stem cells are a little less enthusiastic and are a little more restricted in terms of what they can be. But they’re around and making choices everyday. Your body chemistry defines their destiny.
Mesenchymal cell options ?
Mesenchymal stem cells are programmed with the ability to become bone cells or fat cells.
- Strong bones are a health asset.
- Bones don’t just prop you up, the bone marrow is responsible for producing the blood cells which help protect your body from infection and wounds
- Additional fat cells are health liability, as well as an eye sore.
So the decision of a mesenchymal cell ultimately has profound health implications.
On the trot decisions
Researchers from McMaster University have found that exercise plays a critical role in mesenchymal stem cell decisions.
They found in mice engaging in regular aerobic exercise – the stem cells choose more often than not, to become a bone cell rather than a fat cell.
In contrast, mice vegetating on the “couch” were more likely to acquire an extra fat cell, even though they weren’t deliberately over-eating.
Stem cells respond to what you need
Exercising mice need to keep the muscles supplied with fuel. To extract the energy from this fuel requires oxygen. The body has to ensure that the supply of oxygen to the muscle is adequate. Oxygen is transported round the body in red blood cells, since blood cells are all produced in the bone marrow – it makes sense to beef up the number of bone cells to meet demand.
Of course, sedentary muscles don’t need extra oxygen so why bother ?
Bone activity gives blood a boost
The mice in the study weren’t on some gruelling exercise regimen – their workout was a modest, less than an hour run on the exercise wheel , three times a week.
Moving just a little was enough to profoundly influence the stem cell decisions, resulting in better “bones” and better blood.
Limit fat cell production
Sniffing, snotting baby fat cells are the origin of a lot of the health problems as they rachet up the level of inflammation so keeping their numbers down is imperative.
Put on those takkies and go walkies etc.
Moving will change the destiny of the mesenchymal cells and might just change your destiny, by helping balance your body chemistry.Endurance exercise training promotes medullary hematopoiesis. The FASEB Journal (2011) 10.1096/fj.11-189043 . J. M. Baker, M. De Lisio, G. Parise
Interested in learning more about how to cheat the fat genes ?
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