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 method creates endless supply of kidney precursor cells

August 25, 2016

Salk Institute scientists have discovered the holy grail of endless youthfulness—at least when it comes to one type of human kidney precursor cell. Previous attempts to maintain cultures of the so-called nephron progenitor ...

Strict diet combats rare progeria aging disorders

August 25, 2016

Mice with a severe aging disease live three times longer if they eat thirty percent less. Moreover, they age much healthier than mice that eat as much as they want. These are findings of a joint study being published today ...

New avenue for understanding cause of common diseases

August 25, 2016

A ground-breaking Auckland study could lead to discoveries about many common diseases such as diabetes, cancer and dementia. The new finding could also illuminate the broader role of the enigmatic mitochondria in human development.

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.