What happens at the molecular level after exercise? Scientists, physicians and clinical exercise specialists from across the country are embarking on a landmark National Institutes of Health effort to find out. The Center for Exercise Medicine at UAB is one of 11 clinical sites nationwide participating in the study. The goal of the Molecular Transducers of Physical Activity Consortium, known as MoTrPAC, is to create a comprehensive map of the molecular responses to exercise and its relation to health.
"Research has demonstrated numerous health benefits of exercise, but the underlying mechanisms at the molecular level are largely unknown, which is why MoTrPAC is an exciting project," said Marcas Bamman, PhD, professor in the UAB Department of Cell, Developmental and Integrative and director of the UAB Center for Exercise Medicine.
Scientists worldwide will be able to use the MoTrPAC molecular maps to generate hypotheses for future investigations of exercise-induced health benefits. Ultimately the data sets may also improve the ability of specialists to prescribe exercise programs tailored to each individual.
"We will undoubtedly find individual differences," said Francis Collins, MD, PhD, director of the National Institutes of Health. "What works for me might be very different than what works for someone else."
The study, funded by a $240 million program through the NIH Common Fund, will enroll 1,980 adults across 10 clinical sites and 300 children at one site.
Most of the study participants will be people who do not exercise regularly. They will be divided into three groups: 840 who will do endurance exercise and 840 who will do resistance exercise. Another 300 will not do either. Participants in both exercise groups will receive personal coaching.
The exercise groups will go through three one-hour training sessions per week for about 12 weeks.
There will also be a comparison group consisting of 300 people considered highly active, meaning they have been doing endurance or resistance training consistently for the past year or longer.
Scientists will assess participants' cardiorespiratory function, muscular strength and body composition. Researchers will also collect blood, muscle and fat samples, monitor participants' free-living physical-activity level using wearable devices, and complete participant-reported outcomes and health status by interviews and questionnaires.
UAB is leading a three-site MoTrPAC clinical center called the Exercise and Physical Activity Collaborative Team with AdventHealth and Ball State University.
For more information on participating in MoTrPAC, contact is Kristie Williams, clinical trials manager, UAB Center for Exercise Medicine, 205-996-0855 or firstname.lastname@example.org.