Exerkines: A Crosstalk between Lactate Production, Exercise and Mental Health

Muscle skeletal striated cells secrete a wide range of proteins called myokines or “exerkines”, which in turn perform autocrine, paracrine, or endocrine functions. For being able to act in the communication between skeletal muscle, adipose tissue, and mainly the brain, exerkines play a prominent role and potential influence on health promotion. Furthermore, we detected in the literature that one of these potential therapeutic substances derived from muscle contraction is a molecule derived from glycolytic metabolism that in the past was largely marginalized, the lactate. Currently, studies are dedicated to examining the target structures for exerkines that may contribute to the maintenance and restoration of mental health. Thus, lactate appears to be recognized as a critical mediator of exercise-related changes and their health benefits, particularly in their role in communication and coordination between organs. It is inferred that the BDNF expression mechanism can be induced by lactate, which in turn derives from the activation of SIRT pathways 1 and 2 and activates the PGC1-α cascade. The behavior of lactate concentration is intensity-dependent, directly related to the type of fast-twitch fibers (type IIb) and the recruitment of these fibers would potentiate the responses in the brain. In this sense, high-intensity exercise would establish itself as an important strategy to be considered. Despite this understanding, there is still much to be done. However, lactate appears to be a highly promising exerkine for future research initiatives and a potential biomarker to reduce illness and promote mental health.