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Thread: Enzymes May Offer New Target to Treat Muscle Loss

  1. #1

    Enzymes May Offer New Target to Treat Muscle Loss

    Enzymes May Offer New Target to Treat Muscle Loss
    by Amy Norton
    Thursday, October 25, 2001 5:20 p.m. EDT

    NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Researchers have discovered two enzymes in muscle that may be crucial to the muscle wasting seen after serious injury and in diseases such as cancer and AIDS.

    What's more, mice lacking the enzymes--which are also found in human muscle--were protected from muscle loss in experiments designed to mimic conditions in which people may see their muscle deteriorate.

    These early findings suggest it may be possible to treat muscle wasting in humans with a drug that blocks these enzymes, David J. Glass, of Regeneron Pharmaceuticals in Tarrytown, New York, told Reuters Health.

    Right now, he noted, there is no good way to tackle the severe muscle loss seen in many AIDS and cancer patients.

    In their study, Glass and his colleagues first found that two enzymes--called Muscle RING Finger 1 (MuRF1) and Muscle Atrophy F-box (MAFbx)--showed increased activity in deteriorating muscle in rats. Next, they "knocked out" the genes for the enzymes in mice, then compared the mutant animals' muscle response to nerve damage with that of normal mice. They found that mice lacking the enzymes showed far less muscle wasting than the normal animals did.

    The results are published in the October 25th issue of Sciencexpress, the online edition of the journal Science.

    MuRF1 and MAFbx are known as ubiquitin ligases, which means they connect muscle cells with ubiquitin, a protein that marks other proteins for destruction. So the two enzymes appear to be crucial to the breakdown of distinct proteins within muscle cells, Glass explained.

    What's more, he said, the enzymes seem to be involved in muscle breakdown due to a variety of causes--from immobility like that seen after injuries, to the side effects of drugs used to treat cancer.

    This suggests the enzymes could be targeted to combat muscle wasting seen in a range of conditions, according to Glass.

    "The next step," he added, "is to figure out the best ways of inhibiting them."

    SOURCE: Sciencexpress 2001;10.1126.

  2. #2
    It is good to hear of Regeneron investing in spinal cord injury research again... atrophy is a bad problem and it is good that a major company is seriously addressing this problem. Wise.

  3. #3
    Senior Member DA's Avatar
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    where does it say regenron is investing in sci research?

    i understand this can be used to help sci people, but lets not give them credit they dont deserve. remember it was regenerons fault in-1 is 4 years behind its first planned human trials of in-1 and nt3 in 1998.

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