'Hulk' protein, Grb10, controls muscle growth

August 30, 2012, Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology

Scientists have moved closer toward helping people grow big, strong muscles without needing to hit the weight room. Australian researchers have found that by blocking the function of a protein called Grb10 while mice were in the womb, they were considerably stronger and more muscular than their normal counterparts. This discovery appears in the September 2012 issue of The FASEB Journal. Outside of aesthetics, this study has important implications for a wide range of conditions that are worsened by, or cause muscle wasting, such as injury, muscular dystrophy, Type 2 diabetes, and problems produced by muscle inflammation.

"By identifying a novel mechanism regulating muscle development, our work has revealed potential new strategies to increase muscle mass," said Lowenna J. Holt, Ph.D., a study author from the Diabetes and Obesity Research Program at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research in Sydney, Australia. "Ultimately, this might improve treatment of muscle wasting conditions, as well as metabolic disorders such as ."

To make this discovery, Holt and colleagues compared two groups of mice. Once group had disruption of the Grb10 gene, and were very muscular. The other group, where the Grb10 gene was functional, had normal muscles. Researchers examined the properties of the muscles in both adult and newborn mice and discovered that the alterations caused by loss of Grb10 function had mainly occurred during . These results provide insight into how Grb10 works, suggesting that it may be possible to alter muscle growth and facilitate healing, as the processes involved in and repair are similar to those for the initial formation of muscle.

"Don't turn in your gym membership just yet," said Gerald Weissmann, M.D., Editor-in-Chief of The . "If you want big muscles, the classic prescription still applies: lift heavy things, eat and sleep right, and have your hormones checked. But this study shows that when we understand the basic science of how muscle fibers grow and multiply, we will be able to lift the burden—literally—of muscle disease for many of our patients."

Explore further: Taking a muscular approach towards diabetes and other diseases

More information: Lowenna J. Holt, Nigel Turner, Nancy Mokbel, Sophie Trefely, Timo Kanzleiter, Warren Kaplan, Christopher J. Ormandy, Roger J. Daly, and Gregory J. Cooney. Grb10 regulates the development of fiber number in skeletal muscle. FASEB J September 2012 26:3658-3669; doi:10.1096/fj.11-199349

Related Stories

Taking a muscular approach towards diabetes and other diseases

May 30, 2012
Australian scientists have identified a gene that regulates muscle size, a finding that could help unlock therapies for Type 2 diabetes and diseases such as muscular dystrophy, where muscles are weakened and damaged.

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

February 29, 2012
If you want big muscles without working out, there's hope. In the March 2012 print issue of the FASEB Journal, scientists from the University of Florida report that a family of protein transcription factors, called "Forkhead ...

Stem cell foundation for muscular dystrophy treatment

July 14, 2011
Research at the Australian Regenerative Medicine Institute (ARMI) at Monash University could lay the groundwork for new muscular dystrophy treatments.

Recommended for you

Bioengineered soft microfibers improve T-cell production

January 18, 2018
T cells play a key role in the body's immune response against pathogens. As a new class of therapeutic approaches, T cells are being harnessed to fight cancer, promising more precise, longer-lasting mitigation than traditional, ...

Weight flux alters molecular profile, study finds

January 17, 2018
The human body undergoes dramatic changes during even short periods of weight gain and loss, according to a study led by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine.

Secrets of longevity protein revealed in new study

January 17, 2018
Named after the Greek goddess who spun the thread of life, Klotho proteins play an important role in the regulation of longevity and metabolism. In a recent Yale-led study, researchers revealed the three-dimensional structure ...

The HLF gene protects blood stem cells by maintaining them in a resting state

January 17, 2018
The HLF gene is necessary for maintaining blood stem cells in a resting state, which is crucial for ensuring normal blood production. This has been shown by a new research study from Lund University in Sweden published in ...

Magnetically applied MicroRNAs could one day help relieve constipation

January 17, 2018
Constipation is an underestimated and debilitating medical issue related to the opioid epidemic. As a growing concern, researchers look to new tools to help patients with this side effect of opioid use and aging.

Researchers devise decoy molecule to block pain where it starts

January 16, 2018
For anyone who has accidentally injured themselves, Dr. Zachary Campbell not only sympathizes, he's developing new ways to blunt pain.

5 comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

IronhorseA
2 / 5 (1) Aug 30, 2012
This finding will be even more important for the elderly, who injure themselves in falls due to muscle degradation caused by age.
sdev
1 / 5 (1) Aug 30, 2012
I think having this AND lifting weights at the gym would be pretty awesome....especially at age 44 to be able to keep up with the young 20 something studs at the gym.
theskepticalpsychic
1 / 5 (1) Aug 31, 2012
Yeah, but just wait: in a world of Hulks, fashion will shift to swimmer builds. :
alfie_null
2 / 5 (1) Aug 31, 2012
Does it do anything for tendons? I foresee a generation of Superman wannabes, crippled by long-time-to-heal tendon injuries.
simon155
not rated yet Sep 04, 2012
Does it affect muscle efficiency? I've seen the usual muscle-bloated poser at the gym before but as a rule they are mostly very weak.

Will distribution be natural or do you run the risk of an over inflated heart etc?

Will it help with asthma conditions? Feasible for a single treatment inhaled for long term asthma protection?

Muscle wasting diseases are an obvious opportunity.

Vision problems like lazy eye?

Space travel? Nasa sponsorship opportunity.

Athletics... obvious one. Military too. Public sectors likely to be far more lucrative though...

You can bet on it affecting horse racing, dogs, pigeons, the list goes on.

I hope the trials are limited to rational calm natured people though. Ideally not psychopaths or those inclined to abuse a sudden well above average degree of strength.

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.