Study illuminates how muscles can stave off immune system “fatigue”

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When the immune system is battling an invader like cancer or a virus over long stretches of time, it can get tired. In a recent study, researchers discovered what could help stave off this “immune exhaustion.”According to research conducted in mice, skeletal muscle can keep the immune system from running out of steam when fighting chronic illnesses. That’s because muscles can shelter certain types of T-cells and replenish immune system ranks when they become fatigued.Jingxia Wu is the study’s first author and a researcher at the German Cancer Research Center. She explains that this sheltering helps the immune system when it’s been continuously fighting a virus over a long period of time.”If the T-cells, which actively fight the infection, lose their full functionality through continuous stimulation, the precursor cells can migrate from the muscles and develop into functional T-cells,” Wu says.If the findings are found in humans, not just mice, that could mean weightlifting and building muscle keeps people’s immune system awake, alive, and alert too. The study was published June 12 in the journal Science Advances.The link between muscles and immunity — When people become sick with chronic viral infections or cancers, they often lose weight …

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