RESEARCH CORE 2: APPLIED PHYSIOLOGY AND TISSUE MECHANISMS (RC2)
Alice Ryan, Ph.D., Co-Leader
Leslie I. Katzel, M.D., Ph.D., Co-Leader
Cardiovascular deconditioning, chronic inflammation, and endocrine-metabolic dysfunction are inherent to the pathophysiology of the physical impairments in older persons hindered by disabling chronic diseases of aging. Sarcopenia, poor fitness, inflammation, metabolic syndrome, and acute events related to disability such as stroke and hip fracture occur with advancing age which may worsen mobility and increase risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD) and metabolic abnormalities. Our hypothesis is that exercise-focused rehabilitation, including aerobic and resistive training, can improve multiple physiological systems in older, mobility-limited individuals leading to improved functional performance, reduced cardiometabolic risk, and prevention of functional decline. By determining the structural, molecular, and metabolic abnormalities in skeletal muscle, adipose tissue, and vascular endothelium, and their response to exercise rehabilitation, we can optimize exercise and motor learning-based interventions with RC3 to improve muscle structure and functional outcomes, metabolic function, and CVD risk profiles in older adults with these chronic conditions. These interventions may potentially prevent subsequent morbidity and mortality. To achieve this goal, we will implement the following specific aims:
- To provide study support, mentor and train UM-OAIC junior scholars, affiliated junior faculty, and OAIC researchers in the performance of applied exercise physiology and tissue mechanisms research relevant to exercise–based restoration of function and prevention of functional declines in older people with chronic disabling diseases through:
- participation in research working groups (RWGs) which provide educational and consultative resources to UM-OAIC junior and senior investigators in the design and implementation of their research;
- clinical applied training in translational research and the assessment of cardiovascular and physiological outcomes of exercise rehabilitation in aging; and
- laboratory training of standardized core methodologies in order to gain expertise in the performance of metabolic testing and cellular and molecular assays at the bench to facilitate their translational research.
- To facilitate the conduct of musculoskeletal and tissue mechanistic exercise rehabilitation and preventive medical research in aging and disability across the UM-OAIC pilot projects, UM-OAIC junior scholars’ research and external NIH and VA funded research through:
- recruitment, the performance of medical assessments and cardiovascular screening of research volunteers to ensure patient safety and eligibility for research protocols;
- development and testing of novel exercise-based interventions (aerobic, resistance, multi-modal training);
- phenotyping of older, disabled volunteers in UM-OAIC research at the whole body and tissue level.
The clinical and metabolic phenotype(s) of individuals with stroke, hip fracture and other functional limitations and disabilities will be characterized in RC2 in order to develop successful disability specific rehabilitation strategies to improve their functional and clinical outcomes. Thus this core, in collaboration with the other cores, will support innovative studies that address critical areas of rehabilitation examining the effects of multisystem rehabilitation and preventive strategies on functional and physiological outcomes in older adults.