Protein Linking Exercise: A Remedy for Muscle Wasting Disease

Scientists at the Dana –Farber Cancer Institute have discovered a new protein that induces muscle growth after an exercise routine. This research was published in the latest issue of the journal Cell.

Culturing this protein in the laboratory and administering this as a therapeutic to those suffering from muscle loss (Cachexia) due to ailments such as cancer which force the patient to be bedridden without activity for long durations.


The Experimental Method

The study was conducted on mice that were suffering from cachexia due to cancer. The scientists treated these mice with the protein and found significant changes in their muscle mass. The protein was identified as PGC-1 ?-4, present in the skeletal muscles of humans and mice.

The tests showed that treated mice developed 60% more muscle fiber as compared to the untreated ones. Treated mice were also 20% stronger, leaner and active than the untreated ones. The mice were also genetically engineered to produce more amount of the protein. It was transferred into the mice by injecting the laboratory protein to the leg muscle.

Results and Conclusions of the Study

Dr Bruce Spiegelman, the lead author of the study says that resistance exercises like weight training increase the levels of this protein which induces biochemical changes in the body giving rise to larger muscles. Another isoform of this protein is said to regulate the body metabolism and is switched on by aerobic and cardiac exercises such as running and endurance training.

The rise in these protein levels increases the IGF1 involved in muscle growth. At the same time it represses myostatin, a protein responsible for restricting muscle growth. Thus it accelerates muscle growth and stops the blockages in the process. The treated mice lost 10% mass in the leg muscle as compared to 29% in the untreated one even when they were not administered additional dosages externally.

Thus the protein helps in gaining muscle mass and strength at a faster rate.