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Table 1 Main outcomes of human studies on physical activity, epigenetics and diseases

From: Physical activity in the prevention of human diseases: role of epigenetic modifications

  Type of study Subjects PA assessment Tissue Analysed Results References
Cancer disease OS 45 healthy female
(43±7 yrs)
PA questionnaire
(for the past years, the past 5 years and over a lifetime)
Breast No significant correlation between PA and APC or RASSF1A methylation [62]
OS 1154 people with colon cancer
(30-79 yrs)
PA questionnaire
(for the current year, the past 10 and 20 years)
Colon No significant correlation between PA and number of methylated markers [69]
OS 106 people with gastric cancer
(59-66 yrs)
PA questionnaire (referent before cancer oneset) Gastric Significant correlation between PA and CACNA2D3 methylation. [64]
OS 750 people with rectum tumor
(30-79 yrs)
PA questionnaire
(for the current year, the past 10 and 20 years)
Rectum No significant between PA and CIMP
tumors
[63]
OS 131 healthy people
(45-75 yrs )
PA assessed over 4 days Leukocytes No significant correlation between PA and LINE-1 methylation [65]
OS 4654 healthy people
(55-69 yrs)
PA self-reported (occupational history) Colorectal No significant association between PA and CIMP tumors [66]
IS 12 female with breast cancer
(55-65 yrs)
6 months of 2.5hrs per week of moderate intensity treadmill exercise Leukocyte and breast Significant association between PA and DNA methylation in a tumor suppressor gene (L3MBTL1) [67]
OS/IS 64 healthy male and female
(29±8 yrs)
PA self-reported over 7 days and 12 months Buccal cells Significant correlation between PA and DNA methylation of genes associated with carcinogenesis process [68]
OS 647 healthy female
(35-73 yrs)
PA self-reported at different times in
life (childhood, teenage years and past 12 months)
Leukocytes No significant correlation between PA and LINE-1 DNA methylation [74]
IS 12 healthy men
(22.3 ± 1.0 yrs)
Acute aerobic exercise ( 10, 2-min bouts of cycle ergometer exercise at a constant sub-maximal workload interspersed with 1-min rest) Leukocytes PA alter the expression of 986 genes and 23 miRNAs associated with cancer and cell communication in NK cells [44]
Metabolic
disease
IS 14 young male and female
(25±1 yrs)
2 sessions of acute exercise: low-intensity (40% V̇O2max); high intensity (80% V̇O2max) Vastus lateralis Significant hypometilation of PGC-1α, TFAM, PPARD, PDK4 [78]
IS 15 men T2D FH+, 13 men T2D FH-
(37.5±5.2 yrs)
6 months aerobic exercise (3hrs per week: 1 session of 1h spinning; 2 sessions of 1h aerobic Vastus lateralis Significant correlation between PA and the methylation of markers associated with T2D (RUNX1, MEF2A, THADA, NDUFC2, ADIPOR1, ADIPOR2, BDKRB2) [84]
IS 31 men, 15 T2D FH+ and 16 T2D FH-
(37.5±5.2 yrs)
6 months aerobic exercise (3hrs per week: 1 session of 1h spinning; 2 sessions of 1h aerobic Adipose Significant correlation between PA and the methylation of markers associated with obesity and T2D [85]
IS 17 T2D patients (13 female, 5 male)
( 49±5 yrs)
16weeks endurance exercise on cycle ergometer for 1 h/session at 60% V̇o2 peak (3 time per week) Vastus Lateralis Significant hypomethylation of the promoter region for
NRF1, hypomethylation at a CpG shelf within the intronic region of the gene body of PFKFB3, and hypermethylation of the promoter region of FASN after exercise.
[59]
CDV disease IS 12 healthy men
(21.1±2.7 yrs)
4 weeks of sprint interval training (3 per week, 249 min in total) Leukocytes Training induces specific leukocyte DNA methylation across MIR21 and MIR210 [60]
NDG disease IS 17 SZ male and female
(18-50 yrs)
3 moths combined aerobic and strength training (1h 3 time per week. Aerobic: 20min walking at 60% max cardiorespiratory fitness; strength: 30min of 3 sets of 15 reps major muscle group) PBMCs Decrease of global histone H4 acetylation after 30, 60 and 90 days of the intervention. [53]
  1. CDV Cardiovascular, NDG Neurodegenerative, CIMP CpG Island Methylator Phenotype, FH+ Family History, FH- No Family History, IS Interventional study, OS Observational study, PA Physical activity, T2D Type 2 Diabetes, V̇O 2 max Maximal oxygen uptake