Key mechanism links exercise to muscle growth

October 24, 2013
Key mechanism links exercise to muscle growth

Scientists from King's College London have identified a mechanism by which exercise – or lack of it – controls the growth and loss of muscle mass.

Although an early study on zebrafish, the research could provide insights into how wasting can be prevented and treated in humans.

Muscle wasting is associated with extended periods of inactivity and also occurs during normal ageing. In addition, it contributes to suffering in several common diseases, such as cancer and rheumatoid arthritis.

Published in PLOS Biology, the research by Dr Orli Yogev, Professor Simon Hughes and colleagues from the Randall Division of Cell and Molecular Biophysics at King's College London, showed how in zebrafish is regulated by the effects of physical activity on the TOR cell signalling pathway, a known regulator of cell growth in organisms from yeast to mammals. Specifically, lack of physical activity activated proteins that block synthesis – the process through which muscles normally grow.

Professor Simon Hughes said: 'Regulation of these proteins causes the profile of muscle proteins to change, tuning the muscle to periods of activity or inactivity.

'In healthy people is maintained through a balance between the rate at which muscle protein is synthesised and the rate at which it is broken down. In our study, this balance was disrupted, reducing muscle growth.'

Professor Hughes added: 'If the mechanism discovered by Dr Yogev is found to exist in humans, our findings could pave the way for measures aimed at preventing or even reversing muscle wasting. It might also help us understand how sport is beneficial for muscle growth in children.'

Explore further: No workout? No worries: Scientists prevent muscle loss in mice, despite disease and inactivity

More information: www.plosbiology.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pbio.1001679

Related Stories

A smart way of using testosterone to prevent muscle wasting

July 30, 2013

New Australian research suggests that a small dose of testosterone directed solely to the liver stimulates protein synthesis, likely preventing muscle loss and wasting, and potentially promoting muscle growth. The researchers ...

Recommended for you

New 'Tissue Velcro' could help repair damaged hearts

August 28, 2015

Engineers at the University of Toronto just made assembling functional heart tissue as easy as fastening your shoes. The team has created a biocompatible scaffold that allows sheets of beating heart cells to snap together ...

Fertilization discovery: Do sperm wield tiny harpoons?

August 26, 2015

Could the sperm harpoon the egg to facilitate fertilization? That's the intriguing possibility raised by the University of Virginia School of Medicine's discovery that a protein within the head of the sperm forms spiky filaments, ...

Research identifies protein that regulates body clock

August 26, 2015

New research into circadian rhythms by researchers at the University of Toronto Mississauga shows that the GRK2 protein plays a major role in regulating the body's internal clock and points the way to remedies for jet lag ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.