Endurance Exercise and Effects on Mobility and Cardiac Healthspan in Drosophila
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Mobility and cardiac function both deteriorate as one ages. Techniques that can preserve these functions at advanced ages are of considerable interest, in preserving the livelihood and health of the elderly. Studies have indentified changes in healthy individuals as they age in regards to cardiac performance such as increased frequency of atrial fibrillation, decreased relaxation velocity and decreased ejection fraction. Endurance exercise is a therapeutic option that slows age-related functional decline and alters the metabolic health of an organism. Using the Drosophila model offers advantages. Flies also undergo a reproducible age-related decline in response to a negative geotaxis stimulus. After training, exercised wild-type flies maintain higher mobility and speed for the rest of their lives compared to the unexercised cohort. Other effects observed in wildtype flies include reduced lipid accumulation, maintained low autophagy in the myocardium and upregulation of autophagy in the fat body.