Gene could play role in body's muscle mass

January 9, 2017 by Euan Wemyss, University of Aberdeen
Gene could play role in body's muscle mass
Scientists at the University of Aberdeen identify gene which could play role in determining muscle mass. Credit: University of Aberdeen

Scientists have identified a gene they think could play a role in determining a person's muscle mass - which is linked to a number of health factors, including how long someone lives.

Previous studies have shown a link between and in .

Muscle is the most abundant tissue in the body and enables many functions from allowing us to move around to allowing us to breathe.

The amount of skeletal muscle mass each person has can vary significantly.

Skeletal muscle mass can be increased if a person undertakes strength exercise but genetic factors play an equally important role in determining how much muscle mass a person can have.

Now, scientists at the University of Aberdeen, led by Dr Arimantas Lionikas, have identified a gene that appears to affect muscle mass in mice. The findings have been published in Nature Genetics.

The same gene has previously been linked with the spread of cancer and drugs have been developed to target it.

The team hope to study these drugs further to understand their effects on . If there are different drugs targeting the same gene, the research could uncover which drug has the less negative effect on muscle mass.

"Skeletal muscle mass is incredibly important in humans, especially as they get older. We have already seen in older adults that statistically, those with lower muscle mass are more likely to die at a younger age.

"Our research suggests this gene could play a role in regulating muscle mass and the fact that drugs have already been developed to target the gene gives us an obvious focus for further research."

Explore further: Fat-free mass index predicts survival in patients with Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis

More information: Jérôme Nicod et al. Genome-wide association of multiple complex traits in outbred mice by ultra-low-coverage sequencing, Nature Genetics (2016). DOI: 10.1038/ng.3595

Related Stories

Fat-free mass index predicts survival in patients with Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis

November 21, 2016
Researchers have found that fat-free mass index, but not body mass index, was a significant predictor of survival in patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), a debilitating form of pneumonia. Unlike body mass index, ...

Body builders aren't necessarily the strongest athletes

November 3, 2016
An increase in muscle size with exercise may not be directly related to an increase in muscle strength, according to a recent analysis of the literature.

A stem cell gene found to command skeletal muscle regeneration

October 12, 2016
Prox1 gene has long been known to play an important role in fetal development. Finnish researchers have now discovered that Prox1 is essential also for skeletal muscle stem cell differentiation.

Putting a 'HEX' on muscle regeneration

October 1, 2012
A complex genetic regulatory network mediates the regeneration of adult skeletal muscles. In this issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation, researchers at the State University of New York Downstate Medical Center in ...

One week of bed rest lowers muscle mass, insulin sensitivity

July 13, 2016
(HealthDay)—One week of bed rest is associated with a substantial reduction in skeletal muscle mass and decreased whole-body insulin sensitivity, according to a study published online June 29 in Diabetes.

Higher muscle mass associated with lower mortality risk in people with heart disease

April 19, 2016
Researchers from the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA found that cardiovascular disease patients who have high muscle mass and low fat mass have a lower mortality risk than those with other body compositions. The findings ...

Recommended for you

Genetic changes associated with physical activity reported

December 10, 2018
Time spent sitting, sleeping and moving is determined in part by our genes, University of Oxford researchers have shown. In one of the most detailed projects of its kind, the scientists studied the activity of 91,105 UK Biobank ...

Team seeks to create genetic map of worm's nervous system

December 10, 2018
How do you build a brain? What "rules" govern where neurons end up, how they connect to each other, and which functions they perform?

Scientists cut main heart disease risk locus out of DNA by genome editing

December 6, 2018
Over the past decade we've learned that billions of people carry a mysterious specter in their DNA that strongly increases their risk for life threatening cardiovascular diseases, such as heart attacks, aneurysms or strokes, ...

What can a snowflake teach us about how cancer spreads in the body?

December 6, 2018
What can seashells, lightning and the coastline of Britain teach us about new drugs for cancer?

New genetic insight could help treat rare debilitating heart and lung condition

December 6, 2018
The largest study of genetic variation in patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension has associated two important genes with the disease.

Are scientists studying the wrong kind of mice?

December 5, 2018
Mice represent well over half of the non-human subjects of biomedical research, and the vast majority of those mice are inbred. Formed by generation after generation of mating between brothers and sisters, inbred mice are ...

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.