Alteration of gene expression in rat colon mucosa after exercise

K. Buehlmeyer, F. Doering, H. Daniel, B. Kindermann, T. Schulz, H. Michna

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


The development of colon cancer is highly influenced by lifestyle factors such as nutrition and physical inactivity. Detailed biological mechanisms are thus far unclear. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of regular treadmill exercise on gene expression in rat colon mucosa. For this purpose, 6-week-old male Wistar rats completed a stress-free voluntary treadmill exercise period of 12 weeks. Sedentary rats served as a control group. In the colon mucosa, steady-state mRNA expression levels of approximately 10,000 genes were compared between both groups by micro-array analysis (MWG rat 10 K array). A total of 8846 mRNAs were detected above background level. Regular exercise led to a decreased expression of 47 genes at a threshold-factor of 2.0. Three genes were found to be up-regulated in the exercise group. The identified genes encode proteins involved in signal transduction (n=11), transport (n=8), immune system (n=7), cytoskeleton (n=6), protein targeting (n=6), metabolism (n=5), transcription (n=3) and vascularization (n=2). Among the genes regulated by regular exercise, the betaine-homocysteine methyltransferase 2 (BHMT2) seems to be of particular interest. Physical activity may protect against aberrant methylation by repressing the BHMT2 gene and thus contribute to a decreased risk of developing colon cancer. We have also identified vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), angiopoietin-2 (ANG-2) and calcium-independent phospholipase a2 (iPL-A2), all of them with markedly reduced transcript levels in the mucosa of active rats. In summary, our experiment presents the first gene expression pattern in rat colon mucosa following regular treadmill activity and represents an important step in understanding the molecular mechanisms responsible for the preventive effect of physical activity on the development of colon cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)71-80
Number of pages10
JournalAnnals of Anatomy
Issue number1
StatePublished - 28 Feb 2008


  • BHMT2
  • Colon cancer
  • Gene expression
  • Micro-array
  • Physical activity
  • Prevention
  • Rat


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