Aerobic Exercise and Pharmacological Treatments Counteract Cachexia by Modulating Autophagy in Colon Cancer

Valentina Di Felice, Rosario Barone, Mario Gruppo, Emanuele Rizzuto, Paola Aulino, Marco Rocchi, Emanuele Berardi, Eva Pigna, Mathias Mericskay, Dario Coletti, Stefano Merigliano, Sandra Zampieri, Ugo Carraro, Sergio Adamo, Helmut Kern, Zhenlin Li, Viviana Moresi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

73 Citations (Scopus)


Recent studies have correlated physical activity with a better prognosis in cachectic patients, although the underlying mechanisms are not yet understood. In order to identify the pathways involved in the physical activity-mediated rescue of skeletal muscle mass and function, we investigated the effects of voluntary exercise on cachexia in colon carcinoma (C26)-bearing mice. Voluntary exercise prevented loss of muscle mass and function, ultimately increasing survival of C26-bearing mice. We found that the autophagic flux is overloaded in skeletal muscle of both colon carcinoma murine models and patients, but not in running C26-bearing mice, thus suggesting that exercise may release the autophagic flux and ultimately rescue muscle homeostasis. Treatment of C26-bearing mice with either AICAR or rapamycin, two drugs that trigger the autophagic flux, also rescued muscle mass and prevented atrogene induction. Similar effects were reproduced on myotubes in vitro, which displayed atrophy following exposure to C26-conditioned medium, a phenomenon that was rescued by AICAR or rapamycin treatment and relies on autophagosome-lysosome fusion (inhibited by chloroquine). Since AICAR, rapamycin and exercise equally affect the autophagic system and counteract cachexia, we believe autophagy-triggering drugs may be exploited to treat cachexia in conditions in which exercise cannot be prescribed.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages14
JournalScientific Reports
Publication statusPublished - 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


Dive into the research topics of 'Aerobic Exercise and Pharmacological Treatments Counteract Cachexia by Modulating Autophagy in Colon Cancer'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this