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Exercise has been proven to reduce the risk and progression of various diseases, such as cancer, diabetes and neurodegenerative disorders. Increasing evidence suggests that exercise affects the cytokine profile and changes distribution and function of tumor-competitive immune cells. Initial studies have shown that different exercise interventions are associated with epigenetic modifications in different tissues and cell types, such as muscle, fat, brain and blood. The present investigation examines the effect of an intense endurance run (half marathon) on global epigenetic modifications in natural killer (NK) cells in 14 cancer patients compared to 14 healthy controls. We were able to show that histone acetylation and NKG2D expression, a functional NK cell marker, were elevated for at least 24 h after the run. Thus, this is the first study to present a potential mechanism of how exercise may impact NK cell activity on the subcellular level. Further studies should focus on epigenetic mechanisms and dose-dependent effects of exercise.


Institute for Health and Ageing

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Journal Article

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