Research findings into the immune-muscle ‘crosstalk’ and the connections between exercise, muscle function and immune system could help people with obesity or type 2 diabetes who are looking to improve their health through exercise.

A German team studied how muscles respond to exercise at a molecular level, shedding light on the signal pathways that are responsible for how physical activity benefits our health.

They discovered that a type of immune cell – regulatory T cells – play a significant role in making sure muscles function properly.

The findings could help experts to develop precision immune therapies for diabetes and people with muscle-related diseases.

While it is widely known that exercise benefits metabolic health and the immune system, less is known about exactly how this happens.

In this new study, researchers identified the molecular mechanisms by which the T cells control muscle ‘crosstalk’ in reaction to exercise and muscle injury.

By manipulating these cells, they discovered more about their role in muscle function and repair. They also identified a signalling pathway – IL6R – is vital for how these cells function.

The discoveries could also explain why anti-inflammatory treatment focussed on IL6R could cause muscle weakness as a side effect.

Read more in Cell Metabolism.

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