Stress blocker

Ex­er­cis­ing stops kynure­nine, a sub­stance that causes de­pres­sion, from en­ter­ing brain

Down to Earth - - SCIENCE -

EX­ER­CIS­ING HAS var­i­ous phys­i­cal and men­tal health ben­e­fits. It is known to help in re­liev­ing stressin­duced de­pres­sion. But till now mech­a­nisms be­hind this were not known. A study on mice has shown that phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity causes changes in skele­tal mus­cles that help it block kynure­nine—a sub­stance that ac­cu­mu­lates in the blood dur­ing stress and in high amounts can cause de­pres­sion—from en­ter­ing the brain. Phys­i­cal ex­er­cise in­creases pro­tein PGC-1 1 in skele­tal mus­cles. The study found that mice with high lev­els of PGC-1 1 also had a high level of an en­zyme called KAT. This en­zyme con­verted kynure­nine into kynurenic acid, which is not able to pass from the blood to the brain, pro­tect­ing the brain from stress. Cell, Septem­ber 25 (on­line)

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