Muscles, Motor Control and Health Promotion

Head Prof. Dr. Aivaras Ratkevičius

2020 – 2022 y.

Physical activity and exercise play important role in the treatment and prevention of many diseases. The overall aim of this research program is to investigate the effects of various modalities of muscle exercise on metabolism, cognition, and motor performance with a particular focus on molecular, morphological, and functional properties of skeletal muscles and connective tissue. Effects of muscle exercise will be studied in relation to aging, nutrition, sleep deprivation, and environmental factors. Six research groups will study children, adults, and aging volunteers who will be healthy or disabled, untrained, or physically active including athletes. The research will be conducted using C57BL/6J, BEH, BEL, and DUI mouse strains with inborn differences in metabolism and properties of skeletal muscles. The research will involve partners from Latvia, Estonia, Poland, Sweden, Norway, Germany, the USA, Israel, the U.K., Japan as well as other countries in order to promote international standards of high-quality research. We will organize seminars, conferences, workshops to present our research results in our university, and outside of its boundaries. We will aim to introduce university staff, students, and lay members of the public to the most significant achievements of sports sciences in order to promote interest in research as the basis for the progress of humankind.
Skeletal muscles release the whole array of myokines (IL-6, Il-10, BDNF, irisin, etc) that convey signals to other organs and tissues (Pedersen 2011). For example, an increase in blood levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is significantly greater after muscle exercise of 35-min duration compared to the same duration of cognitive exercises (Håkansson et al. 2017). This increase in BDNF is thought to have a positive effect on the physical and mental health of aging humans (Byunand Kang, 2016).
Higher intensity exercise training (HIT exercises) can reduce body fat, blood pressure, increase insulin sensitivity and promote mitochondrial biogenesis in skeletal muscles (Batacan et al. 2016, Robinson et al. 2017, Wyckelsma et al. 2017). Combination of caloric restriction and physical activity can improve cognitive skills such as decision making, memory, and attention span in humans (Veronese et al. 2017).
Aging results in reduced levels of physical activity and this change has been linked to a decline in cognitive, social, sensory, and motor functions as well as depression, chronic fatigue, and social isolation (Kramer and Erickson 2006; Park and Reuter-Lorenz 2009; Voelcker-Rehage et al. 2010). Physical activity and caloric restriction have been shown to be good preventative measures against neurodegenerative diseases (Marosi and Mattson, 2014; van Praag et al. 2014). Physical activity can also reduce the social isolation of people affected by various forms of disability.
There is a significant interest in various diets associated with restrictions on food intake. Human nutrition studies have often suffered from problems in the assessment of food intake and thus provide little reliable evidence for or popular dietary interventions (Tay et al. 2017). It appears that genetically homogeneous mouse strains can be used as an experimental model to study the effects of specific diets under strict experimental conditions.

 

RESEARCH TEAMS:
1.Effects of environmental factors (Head Prof. Dr. Marius Brazaitis)

Marius Brazaitis Prof. Dr.
Kazimieras Pukėnas Prof. Dr.
Rima Solianik Dr.
Dalia Mickevičienė Dr., Assoc. Prof.
Gediminas Mamkus Dr., Assoc. Prof.
Nerijus Eimantas Dr.
Neringa Baranauskienė Dr.
Henrikas Paulauskas Dr.
Sandra Kilikevičienė Dr.
Margarita Černych Dr.
Andrius Šatas PhD student
Milda Eimontė PhD student

 

2.Musculoskeletal injury (Head Prof. Dr. Sigitas Kamandulis)

Sigitas Kamandulis Prof. Dr.
Audrius Sniečkus Dr.
Danguolė Satkunskienė Prof. Dr.
Mantas Mickevičius Dr.
Inga Lukonaitienė Lecturer
Giedrius Dranevičius PhD student
Mani Mirzabech PhD student
Saulė Sipavičienė Dr., Assoc. Prof.

 

3.Empowerment of people with special needs (Head Assoc. Prof.Vida Ostasevičienė)

Vida Ostasevičienė Dr., Assoc. Prof.
Jūratė Požėrienė Dr., Assoc. Prof.
Diana Rėklaitienė Prof. Dr.
Kęstutis Skučas Dr.
Aida Gaižauskienė Lecturer
Aušrinė Packevičiūtė Assistant
Kristina Venckūnienė Lecturer
Vaida Pokvytytė Dr.

 

4.Neuromuscular rehabilitation (Head Assoc. Prof. Vilma Juodžbalienė)

Jūratė Požėrienė Dr., Assoc. Prof.
Vilma Juodžbalienė Dr., Assoc. Prof.
Vilma Dudonienė Dr., Assoc. Prof.
Kazys Vadopalas Dr., Assoc. Prof.
Giedrė Jurgėlaitienė PhD student
Agnė Čekanauskaitė PhD student
Edgaras Lapinskas PhD student

 

5.Muscle and brain cross-talk (Head Assoc. Prof. Nerijus Masiulis)

Nerijus Masiulis Dr., Assoc. Prof.
Oron Levin Prof. Dr.
Vida Česnaitienė Dr., Assoc. Prof.
Margarita Drozdova-Statkevičienė Dr.
Mati Passuke Prof. Dr.
Kazimieras Pukėnas Prof. Habil. Dr.
Dovilė Kielė Dr.
Diana Karanauskienė Dr., Assoc. Prof.
Mindaugas Kvedaras Dr.
Simona Kušleikienė PhD student
Kristina Valatkevičienė PhD student
Wouter Vints PhD student
Gintarė Katkutė LSU Master Student
Samrat Sheoran LSU Student

 

6.Molecules in sport and nutrition (Head Prof. Dr. Aivaras Ratkevičius)

Aivaras Ratkevičius Prof. Dr.
Tomas Venckūnas Prof. Dr.
Petras Minderis Dr.
Andrej Fokin Researcher
Mindaugas Kvedaras Dr.
Edgaras Lapinskas PhD student
Anandini Swaminathan PhD student
Lina Šnipaitienė PhD student
Mantas Dirmontas PhD student
Agnė Čekanauskaitė PhD student
Anelė Gedmantaitė PhD student
Neringa Švedaitė PhD student
Tomas Kadusauskas PhD student
Indrė Libnickienė Laboratory Assistant