“Given that exercise is one of the most effective interventions for obesity, this creates a cycle by which a person becomes trapped in obesity,” Butcher said.
Obesity is linked with a range of factors that increase the risk of heart disease and diabetes, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, insulin resistance and kidney damage. The researchers bred four groups of mice: lean and obese mice with uninhibited myostatin production and lean and obese mice that were unable to produce myostatin.
“In our muscular obese mouse, despite full presentation of obesity, it appears that several of these key pathologies are prevented,” Butcher said. “While much more research is needed, at this point myostatin appears to be a very promising pathway for protection against obesity-derived cardiometabolic dysfunction.
“Ultimately, the goal of our research would be to create a pill that mimics the effect of exercise and protects against obesity. A pill that inhibits myostatin could also have applications for muscle wasting diseases, such as cancer, muscle dystrophy and AIDS,” he added.
Joshua Butcher presented this research on Tuesday, April 25, in Hall F, McCormick Place Convention Center (poster E266 1011.7) (abstract).
Contacts and sources:
American Physiological Society (APS)