Health & Wellbeing

Muscle-maintaining drug has potential to help seniors stay spry

Muscle-maintaining drug has po...
Known as NNMTi, the drug reduces age-related dysfunction of muscle stem cells
Known as NNMTi, the drug reduces age-related dysfunction of muscle stem cells
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Known as NNMTi, the drug reduces age-related dysfunction of muscle stem cells
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Known as NNMTi, the drug reduces age-related dysfunction of muscle stem cells

It's a sad fact that past the age of about 35, we begin to progressively lose muscle mass. This can be somewhat offset through exercise, although most people still generally tend to get weaker as they get older. A new drug could help, as it's been shown to increase muscle size and strength in elderly mice.

The experimental medication is being developed by researchers from The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston.

Basically, they identified a protein in muscle stem cells (which become muscle cells) that is apparently responsible for their age-related dysfunction. The scientists then produced a drug that minimizes the effect of that protein, allowing aged muscle stem cells to revert to a more youthful state in which they still readily form/repair muscle.

The protein is known as nicotinamide N-methyltransferase (NNMT), so the drug is appropriately enough called NNMT inhibitor (NNMTi).

In lab tests, one group of old mice with a muscle injury received daily doses of NNMTi, while another group got a placebo. After seven days of treatment, it was found that animals from the first group had a higher number of functional muscle stem cells, which were repairing the injury. Those mice also doubled their muscle fiber size, and had 70 percent more muscle strength than the placebo mice.

The blood chemistry of both groups remained about the same – according to the researchers, this suggests that the medication wasn't causing any negative side effects.

"There are no treatments currently available to delay, arrest or reverse age-related muscle degeneration," says Dr. Harshini Neelakantan, senior author of a paper on the study. "These initial results support the development of an innovative drug treatment that has the potential to help the elderly to become fitter, faster and stronger, thus enabling them to live more active and independent lives as they age."

The paper was published this week in the journal Biochemical Pharmacology.

Source: The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston

4 comments
Vanilla Cat
There is an entire generation of elderly laboratory mice with thick heads of hair, rippling muscles, and who enjoy the sex lives of mice half their age. Pray tell when do any of these wonder drugs I've been reading about for 15 years reach us aging humans?
piperTom
Being senior myself, I'm very interested in this -- to the point of wanting to be part of early human trials. Of course, I understand that there is a billion dollar wall (the FDA) between us and general availability, so... maybe it's available off-label?
Douglas Bennett Rogers
Where can I find the clinical trial?
ljaques
Yeah, let's go full GMO! Crispr Critters Forever! Oh, but wait. An old study done a decade or two ago found that simply getting seniors to do exercising a couple times a week for half an hour yielded unreal results: They were twice as strong after just 6 weeks, with no change in diet, no gene-modifying drugs, no superfoods, no steroids. Tom, Doug, go here for more info: https://www.google.com/search?&q=seniors+strength+training+exercises and here: https://www.google.com/search?&q=study+seniors+strength&oq=study+seniors+strength And if you can still climb onto a bicycle, get one. They strengthen every muscle in your body, flood you with oxygen, get your heart rate up to rid your blood of toxins, and make you sweat those toxins out.