Researchers identify new strategy to combat loss of skeletal muscle mass

researchers identify new strategy to combat loss of skeletal muscle mass

Sumary of Researchers identify new strategy to combat loss of skeletal muscle mass:

  • Reviewed by Emily Henderson, B.Sc.Nov 9 2020 Researchers at the University of São Paulo (USP) in Brazil have shown for the first time that stimulating expression of a protein naturally produced by the human body can be a strategy to combat loss of skeletal muscle mass, which happens normally with aging but can intensify in cases of neurodegenerative or inflammatory disease, or in patients who spend long periods in intensive care units (ICUs)..
  • Ten days in an ICU are estimated to result in the loss of up to 20% of muscle mass in the legs and in important respiratory muscles such as the diaphragm..
  • Only physiotherapy, breathing exercises, and electrostimulation can safely reverse ICU-acquired muscle atrophy..
  • “We were able to demonstrate that overexpression of protein kinase A [PKA] significantly improved muscle resistance to fatigue in mice..
  • This is because PKA both suppresses FoxO proteins, which activate genes associated with atrophy and increases the formation of muscle fibers with augmented oxidative potential [respiratory capacity], thereby promoting hypertrophy and greater resistance to fatigue in specific muscles,”.
  • The study was supported by FAPESP and offers a new direction for the search for drugs that protect muscles from atrophy without severe adverse side-effects such as cardiac hypertrophy, tachycardia, heart attack, and even death..
  • “The beneficial role of PKA in muscles, which consists of stimulating anabolism and strength, is unique to all known proteins, making it a strategic target and object of study for the treatment of neuromuscular disease and pathological conditions that lead to weakness and muscle atrophy,”.
  • Metabolic relationship The FMRP-USP research group, which is led by Professor Isis do Carmo Kettelhut, discovered 23 years ago that the hormone adrenalin not only breaks down energy sources such as lipids and carbohydrates but also inhibits degradation of the proteins in muscle fibers..
  • Adrenalin had always been considered a hormone that mobilized energy, not one that prevented excessive breaking down of proteins, which would be catastrophic, especially if they maintain muscle contraction.”.
  • Luiz Carlos Navegantes, Study Co-Author, Professor in the Physiology Department, University of São Paulo’s Ribeirão Preto Medical School (FMRP-USP) Since they discovered that adrenalin protects muscles, the group has investigated the therapeutic potential of drugs similar to the hormone (sympathomimetics) but without managing to avoid adverse side-effects..
  • “Everyone wants to preserve muscle proteins, from athletes who aim to increase muscle mass to patients who need their diaphragm to continue breathing normally,”.
  • The main problem with using synthetic adrenalin and sympathomimetics, he added, is that they have systemic effects and cannot be targeted to specific muscles..
  • This was evidenced in another study conducted by the group in which the sympathomimetic formoterol was tested for chronic treatment of muscle mass loss and fatigue..
  • Related Stories In an article published in Cachexia, Sarcopenia, and Muscle, the researchers described the effects of this drug, which is widely prescribed for asthma, and showed that it can also promote muscle growth and the strengthening of skeletal muscle..
  • “However, although sympathomimetics are extremely interesting to combat atrophy and have already been adopted in clinical practice, they can have adverse side-effects, especially cardiac hypertrophy, and chronic use of these drugs is therefore dangerous.”.
  • Targeted action The group decided to study PKA as a potential solution to the problem by means of selective gene transfer, targeting a specific muscle….

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