Researchers from the State University of Campinas (Unicamp) affirmed that physical exercise can protect the kidneys from damage caused by diabetes. According to a study published in the scientific journal Scientific Reports, this is caused by the secretion of irisin, a hormone secreted by muscle tissue during physical activity.
Scientists consider the substance, known as the exercise hormone, to be one of the most important elements responsible for the long list of benefits that regular physical activity brings to the human body. Now I understand how the study was done.
After all, does irisin protect the kidneys from diabetes data?
After a series of experiments, a group of researchers from the State University of Campinas (Unicamp) confirmed the benefits of the substance for the kidneys. In addition, they describe for the first time how you can prevent kidney damage caused by diabetes, such as chronic kidney failure.
“We found that aerobic exercise is associated with an increase in muscle irisin both in the circulatory system and in the kidneys, which confers renal protection,” explains physician José Bottori López de Faria, from the Renal Physiopathology and Complications Laboratory. Diabetes from the Faculty of Medical Sciences. (FCM-Unicamp).
IrisinaI was identified by biologists at Harvard University (USA) a decade ago. Since then, it has been the subject of numerous studies aimed at unraveling its mechanisms of action. Rodent research has already shown, for example, that this hormone is also important for memory formation and neuron protection in rodents with Alzheimer’s-like disease, among other benefits.
First, the researchers induced diabetes in eight-week-old mice. They then measured indicators of kidney damage, such as the presence of albumin in the urine. Loss of this protein is a sign that kidney cells are already beginning to suffer the effects of diabetes. The animals were separated into three groups: the control group, with stable diabetes, and with prediabetes (they underwent physical training on a treadmill for eight weeks).
“We have seen that exercise is associated with an increase in irisin in muscle tissue and the circulatory system, as well as an increase in AMPK [adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase, which acts as a metabolic sensor for cells] in the kidneys.” said Faria.
Next, the team injected the exercised, diabetic rodents with drugs to block the kidney’s action of irisin. Substance deficiency coincided with the prevention of the beneficial effects of exercise. For example, reduced albumin in the urine and decreased expression of substances that act as glomeruli (the unit of the kidney that filters the blood and removes metabolic waste products). “Lack of irisin abolished the protective effects of exercise on the kidneys in patients with diabetes,” the researchers wrote.
Finally, they also investigated whether irisin treatment could prevent high glucose swings. The response was positive. We conclude that physical exercise increases irisin in the muscles and blood circulation, and that the presence of this hormone in the kidneys activates the AMPK enzyme, which inhibits the mechanisms of renal fibrosis”, explains Faria. “For the first time, we can say that in diabetes, the exercise-triggered irisin/AMPK axis protects kidney cells from the effects of high glucose,” the researchers concluded.
Irisin: what is it and what is the exercise hormone used for?
Iricin is a hormone whose secretion is associated with the contraction of muscle fibers. In this way, it is capable of exerting its action on different receptors in different areas of the body. For example, mental health, motor behavior, joint health, immune response, and more.
This substance favors the conversion of white adipose tissue (responsible for storing fat and regulating body temperature) to a yellowish brown color. This phenomenon contributes to an increase in thermogenesis and daily caloric expenditure, which favors weight loss and obesity control.
Relationship and COVID-19: Understand the relationship
According to a study conducted by the São Paulo State University (Unesp), the hormone irisin may also have a therapeutic effect in cases of coronavirus infection (COVID-19). Due to the pandemic, the scientists decided to investigate the possible effects of irisin on genes related to virus replication.
After analyzing the data, the researchers found that the hormone has a modulating effect in fat cells on genes related to increasing the multiplication of COVID-19 in our bodies. By going through the data, it was possible to discover that irisin reduces the expression of the genes of a protein that the virus binds to. When no protein is present, the virus has difficulty infecting the cell.
As we age, it is common for the expression of this gene to be reduced, which can increase the replication of the coronavirus, increasing the risk of these people contracting the virus. Therefore, it is essential to include physical activity and a balanced diet in your routine, to improve your overall health.