Aging is commonly associated with a structural deterioration of skin that compromises its barrier function, healing, and susceptibility to disease. Several lines of evidence show that these changes are driven largely by impaired tissue mitochondrial metabolism. While exercise is associated with numerous health benefits, there is no evidence that it affects skin tissue or that endocrine muscle-to-skin signaling occurs. We demonstrate that endurance exercise attenuates age-associated changes to skin in humans and mice and identify exercise-induced IL-15 as a novel regulator of mitochondrial function in aging skin. We show that exercise controls IL-15 expression in part through skeletal muscle AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK), a central regulator of metabolism, and that the elimination of muscle AMPK causes a deterioration of skin structure. Finally, we establish that daily IL-15 therapy mimics some of the anti-aging effects of exercise on muscle and skin in mice. Thus, we elucidate a mechanism by which exercise confers health benefits to skin and suggest that low-dose IL-15 therapy may prove to be a beneficial strategy to attenuate skin aging.
Keywords: aging; exercise; metabolism; mitochondria; muscle; skin.
© 2015 The Authors. Aging Cell published by the Anatomical Society and John Wiley & Sons Ltd.