Gene could play role in body's muscle mass

January 9, 2017 by Euan Wemyss
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

New approach to studying chromosomes' centers may reveal link to Down syndrome and more

November 20, 2017
Some scientists call it the "final frontier" of our DNA—even though it lies at the center of every X-shaped chromosome in nearly every one of our cells.

Genome editing enhances T-cells for cancer immunotherapy

November 20, 2017
Researchers at Cardiff University have found a way to boost the cancer-destroying ability of the immune system's T-cells, offering new hope in the fight against a wide range of cancers.

A math concept from the engineering world points to a way of making massive transcriptome studies more efficient

November 17, 2017
To most people, data compression refers to shrinking existing data—say from a song or picture's raw digital recording—by removing some data, but not so much as to render it unrecognizable (think MP3 or JPEG files). Now, ...

Genetic mutation in extended Amish family in Indiana protects against aging and increases longevity (Update)

November 15, 2017
The first genetic mutation that appears to protect against multiple aspects of biological aging in humans has been discovered in an extended family of Old Order Amish living in the vicinity of Berne, Indiana, report Northwestern ...

US scientists try first gene editing in the body

November 15, 2017
Scientists for the first time have tried editing a gene inside the body in a bold attempt to permanently change a person's DNA to try to cure a disease.

Genetic variant prompts cells to store fat, fueling obesity

November 13, 2017
Obesity is often attributed to a simple equation: People are eating too much and exercising too little. But evidence is growing that at least some of the weight gain that plagues modern humans is predetermined. New research ...

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.