Exercising and aging research
Why do we want our dogs to exercise
1. Dogs participating in Vaika's study were running and pulling the sled their whole life, they are used to physical activity and get bored without it. If we want to keep them happy we should provide them with the opportunity to keep training as long as this is allowed by their health.
2. We were looking for objective parameter which will clearly indicate if the anti-aging treatment that we plan to apply is beneficial. For that we will utilize data collected during exercising: we will register speed, endurance and gait for dogs participating in the treadmill and pull tests prior to treatment and then every 6 months afterwards. Combined with data on their performance in younger years these observations will help us to assess (1) the rate of decline in physical performance with age and (2) if the treatment improves/postpones this decline.
Noteworthy dogs will be wearing pet-pace collars through the test, which will provide information on their heart rate and oxygen levels, allowing us to better assess their health status while exercising.
3. Aging affects the ability of the body to respond to "stress". And by response to stress biologists name the sequence of physiological reactions which occur upon recognizing certain external triggers, including infectious agents, temperature modifications, hunger or ... exercising. Chain of reactions in response to various stimuli can be tracked by the presence of certain molecules in blood - cytokines. These regulatory molecules can be released by various cell types and mediate activity of immune cells. It is well established that
Ability of body to release a specific set of cytokines in response to certain stimulation gets compromised with age in humans and mice
Even in the absence of immune challenge aged humans and mice have higher basal level of pro-inflammatory cytokines (this phenomenon is called "inflammaging")
Cytokine production timeline upon exercise is described in young dogs.
We will analyze this timeline for elder dogs and check, whether proposed treatment can mitigate defects of cytokine response in elder animals.