This study aim at assessing the effects of various exercise training programs on functional physiological outcomes, and expression of genes reflecting immune response, in healthy men, age +66 yr. Twelve volunteers are assigned to 10 wk high intensity aerobic exercise (HIT), resistance exercise (RE) or no exercise training, using a randomized crossover design. The 10 wk interventions comprise (i) three sessions (4 sets x 7 reps) per wk employing knee extensor RE, using flywheel inertial technology (YoYo™) or (ii) HIT (30 min, 80-90% VO2 peak, 3 times/wk), followed by 12 wk "wash out". Before and after each intervention, subjects will perform 30 min standardized cycle ergometer tests at 60 and 80% of VO2 peak, respectively. Venous blood samples will be collected pre and post acute exercise, for subsequent microarray analyses of blood cells to reveal potential changes in gene expression. Body composition and quadriceps cross sectional area will be assessed by means of skinfold, DEXA and NMR imaging techniques before and after training. Further, muscle strength, VO2 peak, Qmax and muscle O2 extraction during exercise, will be determined. Exercise training effects are correlated with concomitant molecular changes in response to an acute exercise insult and before and after the 10 wk interventions.
This project will study the efficacy of specific exercise programs to attenuate physiological changes, associated with ageing, by exploiting technology serving as spaceflight exercise countermeasures. This multidisciplinary approach will explore how skeletal muscle use or disuse on one hand, influence immune responses, to benefit both astronauts and the elderly.
Our research group, headed by Prof. Capelli, has coordinated and/or participated in several bed rest campaigns appointed by the international and national space agencies to study the consequences of disuse on the cardiopulmonary and metabolic responses. Presently, research studies focus on investigating the effects of exercise training on immune and physiological responses.
The project is a worckpackage of the multicenter projects "Astronaut exercise prescriptions promoting health and fitness on earth" sponsored by ESA and coordinated by Prf. P. Tesch of Karolinska Inst., Stockholm, Sweden