Cardiac Kinetophagy Coincides with Activation of Anabolic Signaling

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Growing evidence has shown that endurance exercise is a strong inducer of autophagy in various tissues. Thus, we define here endurance exercise-induced autophagy as “kinetophagy” derived from the Greek terms “kineto” (movement), “auto” (self), and “phagy” (eating). Currently, the exact cellular mechanisms responsible for kinetophagy remain unclear; hence, we examined kinetophagy signaling transduction pathways occurring during acute endurance exercise (AEE).


C57BL/6 mice were randomly assigned to either AEE (n = 7) or control sedentary group (CON, n = 7). After 5 d of treadmill running acclimation, mice performed 60 min of a single bout of treadmill running at 12 m·min−1 on a 0% grade. Hearts were excised immediately 1 h after exercise and homogenized for Western blot analyses.


Our data showed that AEE promoted kinetophagy flux (an increase in LC3-II to LC3-I ratio and LC3-II levels and a reduction in p62 levels) with Beclin-1 levels suppressed but Atg7 levels elevated compared with those in the sedentary group. We also observed that AEE increased lysosome-associated membrane protein and cathepsin L, linked to the termination process of autophagy, and that AEE augmented potent autophagy inducers (i.e., adenosine monophosphate kinase phosphorylation, BNIP3, and HSP70). Moreover, we found that exercise-mediated BNIP3 upregulation is associated with hypoxia-inducing factor 1α rather than FoxO3a. Intriguingly, we found for the first time that kinetophagy parallels with anabolic signaling activation (Akt and mammalian target of rapamycin).


Our findings provide evidence that AEE results in kinetophagy without a time-associated elevation in Beclin-1 but with the presence of Akt-mTOR activation and that AEE-induced activation of anabolic signaling is not associated with kinetophagy promotion.

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