Zhen Yan in Medical News Today: Exercise promotes better mitochondrial quality

September 26, 2017 by zrb8mf@virginia.edu

Dr. Zhen Yan is a professor of Medicine at UVA’s SOM and has a joint appointment in the Pharmacology Department. An article that was published in Nature Communications was mentioned in Medical News Today. The article describes a new study that showed how exercise helps the body to keep the cells in the muscles healthy and strong by renewing its cellular mitochondria. Dr. Yan was the head researcher in the study and describes the process by which exercise removes damage mitochondria through an analogy of inspecting and removing damaged cars from city streets;

“Aerobic exercise removes damaged mitochondria in skeletal muscle. If you do it repeatedly, you keep removing the damaged ones. You have a better muscle with better mitochondrial quality. We clean up the clunkers, now the city, the cell, is full of healthy, functional cars.” – Prof. Zhen Yan

Using mice, the study demonstrates that exercise affects the mitochondria in the muscles through “mitophagy” which is the process by which damaged or defective mitochondria are selected and removed.

For more detailed information about the study and to read the full article in Medical News Today click here.

The Pharmacology Department would like to thank Dr. Yan for the impact he and his team researchers have made on Medicine and the understanding of the human body as it relates to muscles, exercise and overall health.