Mass General Hospital Harvard Medical School Broad Institute

Exercise: “Novel Insights into the Chemistry of Exercise”

dreamstime_xl_20859739Exercise is known to protect against cardiovascular and metabolic diseases and to predict long term survival, but how these effects occur is not entirely clear.  We have found new metabolic changes triggered by exercise, as well as signatures that clearly distinguish more-fit from less-fit individuals.  Using our sensitive metabolic profiling method, we were able to detect metabolites involved in energy metabolism in blood that were previously thought to be confined within cells. A combination of metabolites that increased in plasma in response to exercise upregulated the expression of nur77, a transcriptional regulator of glucose utilization and lipid metabolism genes in skeletal muscle.   Metabolic profiling during exercise therefore provided plasma signatures of exercise performance and cardiovascular disease susceptibility, in addition to highlighting molecular pathways that may modulate its salutary effects.


Lewis GD, Farrell L, Wood MJ, Martinovic M, Arany Z, Rowe GC, Souza A, Cheng S, McCabe EL, Yang E, Shi X, Deo R, Roth FP, Asnani A, Rhee EP, Systrom DM, Semigran MJ, Vasan RS, Carr SA, Wang TJ, Sabatine MS, Clish CB, Gerszten RE.   Metabolic signatures of exercise in human plasma.  Science Translational Medicine 2010 May 26;2(33):33ra37. PMID:20505214