Age-related Changes in cfDNA and Muscle Activity in Response to High-Intensity Training

Duration of the project

02.06.2021. - 31.10.2021.

Countries and institutions involved in the project

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Lithuanian Sports University
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University of Tartu
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Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz

Project manager

Prof. Marius Brazaitis

Project aims

Chronic low-grade inflammation is considered a major factor underlying age-related diseases and functional impairments, including declining physical performance. Given the wide range of benefits of exercise and physical activity, exercise has been proposed for the prevention or attenuation of the decrease in quality of life with aging. Sprint interval training (SIT), which comprises short high-intensity bursts of exercise interspaced with periods of rest, is highly metabolically demanding and a potent stimulus for inducing metabolic adaptations in human skeletal muscle.

Here, we aim to analyse the release of cell free DNA (cfDNA) during high-intensity exercise and its correlation with aging. Inflammation related, acute, and transient increases in cfDNA have been observed in a number of different exercises. Older individuals were reported to exhibit higher levels of circulating cfDNA. With regard to healthy aging, the effects of high-intensity exercise on metabolites changes in young and older persons could give a platform to better understand the link between the age-related increase in inflammation and muscle health.

Main activities and venues

  1. The experiments as well as blood sample drawing and the analysis of the classical marker will be conducted at the Lithuanian Sports University.
  2. The analysis of cfDNA parameters will be organized at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz. The Lithuanian partner will perform a visit to Germany.

Direct and indirect target group

Direct: The project is directly relevant for the five applicants (5 people), to intensify the cooperation between our departments. Moreover, the scientific staff members of the departments in Mainz, Kaunas and Tartu benefit from the Baltic German exchange as well (total 20 people). We aim to impart our spectrum of methods between our departments so that future personnel will benefit from the obtained knowledge.

Indirect: The project will be visible to the scientific community of Mainz, Lithuania, Estonia and might initiate further fruitful collaborations between the countries. Additionally, in line with our organized meeting/workshop (alternative – online) the sport science students (over several hundreds), academic stuff (20) and society in general will benefit from the knowledge exchange.