Hormone known to prevent weight gain can help maintain healthy muscles in mice

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A new study suggests that a hormone known to prevent weight gain and normalize metabolism can also help maintain healthy muscles in mice. The findings present new possibilities for treating muscle-wasting conditions associated with age, obesity or cancer, according to scientists from the University of Southern California Leonard Davis School of Gerontology.

The research, published this month in the American Journal of Physiology-Endocrinology and Metabolism, addresses the related problems of age and obesity-induced muscle loss, conditions which can lead to increased risk of falls, diabetes and other negative health impacts. It also adds to a growing number of findings describing beneficial effects of MOTS-c, a mitochondrial-derived peptide that is known to mimic the effects of exercise.

In this study, treating mice on a high-fat diet with MOTS-c helped prevent obesity-associated muscle atrophy by decreasing levels of myostatin, a protein that inhibits muscle growth– myostatin levels were 40% lower in MOTS-c treated mice compared to control mice. The researchers also found that higher MOTS-c levels in humans were correlated with lower levels of myostatin.

The mice findings show MOTS-c improves not only metabolic function but muscle mass as well.

Through molecular analysis, the researchers also identified the specific signaling pathway regulated by MOTS-c, demonstrating for the first time “that MOTS-c modulates the CK2-PTEN-AKT-FOXO1 pathway to inhibit myostatin expression and muscle wasting,” and suggesting that the exercise mimetic effect of MOTS-c may be derived from its previously unknown role as a myostatin inhibitor, according to the paper…

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