Molecular mechanisms of exercise contributing to tissue regeneration

Physical activity has been known as an essential element to promote human health for centuries. Thus, exercise intervention is encouraged to battle against sedentary lifestyle. Recent rapid advances in molecular biotechnology have demonstrated that both endurance and resistance exercise training, two traditional types of exercise, trigger a series of physiological responses, unraveling the mechanisms of exercise regulating on the human body. Therefore, exercise has been expected as a candidate approach of alleviating a wide range of diseases, such as metabolic diseases, neurodegenerative disorders, tumors, and cardiovascular diseases. In particular, the capacity of exercise to promote tissue regeneration has attracted the attention of many researchers in recent decades. Since most adult human organs have a weak regenerative capacity, it is currently a key challenge in regenerative medicine to improve the efficiency of tissue regeneration. As research progresses, exercise-induced tissue regeneration seems to provide a novel approach for fighting against injury or senescence, establishing strong theoretical basis for more and more “exercise mimetics.” These drugs are acting as the pharmaceutical alternatives of those individuals who cannot experience the benefits of exercise. Here, we comprehensively provide a description of the benefits of exercise on tissue regeneration in diverse organs, mainly focusing on musculoskeletal system, cardiovascular system, and nervous system. We also discuss the underlying molecular mechanisms associated with the regenerative effects of exercise and emerging therapeutic exercise mimetics for regeneration, as well as the associated opportunities and challenges. We aim to describe an integrated perspective on the current advances of distinct physiological mechanisms associated with exercise-induced tissue regeneration on various organs and facilitate the development of drugs that mimics the benefits of exercise.