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Genomic Insights Suggesting That Physical Activity Does Not Slow Muscle Aging

Ingenuity® Systems, a leading provider of biomedical information and analysis solutions, have announced that its technology was instrumental in elucidating a network of genetic drivers for aging. The networks determined, among other things, that muscle age was not primarily related to the biology of . The research was published in the journal PLOS Genetics in a paper from the laboratory of at Loughborough University in the United Kingdom.

“IPA is used at research institutions and pharmaceutical companies across the globe to generate new insights about biological systems and determine the biological meaning of scientific results. To date, there are over 7500 peer-reviewed publications using IPA,” said Dr. Doug Bassett, Chief Scientific Officer and Chief Technical Officer of . “Dr. Timmons’ work clearly shows how IPA can help scientists make significant insights on their research.”

Previously, research had hypothesized that resistance exercise contributed to a reverse of the aging process, yet the work carried out by Dr. Timmons’ lab demonstrated that response to exercise is highly variable in humans and that pre-existing gene expression levels can predict future response to exercise. The paper also identified biological molecules that may drive the response to physical activity.

The new work coupled analysis with Ingenuity’s IPA software and microarray data generated both by Dr. Timmons’ laboratory as well as data sets from published literature. The analysis determined that the genetic regulators of age-related genes were distinct and unrelated to the regulators of exercise-influenced genes.

“Several papers in the recent past have asserted that exercise ‘reverses’ the aging process, which is a very attractive proposition – if we could simply exercise more, we would slow the aging process and potentially have fewer chronic problems,” noted Dr. Timmons. “In this study, we took a different approach, measuring the variation in the products being made from the genetic code using Ingenuity’s IPA, and determined that it just isn’t that simple. We were able to capture the relevant networks more easily and with far less cost than traditional methods.”


Phillips BE, Williams JP, Gustafsson T, Bouchard C, Rankinen T, et al. (2013), Molecular Networks of Human Muscle Adaptation to Exercise and Age, PLoS Genet 9(3): e1003389. doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1003389

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