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Massive microRNA scan uncovers leads to treating muscle degeneration
Date:10/17/2007

genetic links. Their team analyzed muscle tissue from patients with each of the ten muscular disorders, discovering that 185 microRNAs are either too abundant or too scarce in wasting muscle, compared with healthy muscle.

Discovered in humans only in the past decade, microRNAs are already known to regulate major processes in the body. Therefore, Eisenberg believes microRNAs may be involved in orchestrating the tissue death, inflammatory response and other major degenerative processes in the affected muscle tissue. The researchers used bioinformatics to uncover a list of genes the microRNAs may act on, and now plan to find which microRNAs and genes actually underlie these processes.

The findings raise the possibility of slowing muscle loss by targeting the microRNAs that control these cascades of damaging events. This approach is more efficient than targeting individual genes.

The team also defined the abnormal microRNA signatures that correspond to each of the ten wasting diseases. They hope these will shed light on the genes and disease mechanisms involved in the most poorly understood and least treatable of the degenerative disorders, such as inclusion body myositis.

At this point, its very theoretical, but its possible, says Eisenberg.


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Contact: James Newton
james.newton@childrens.harvard.edu
617-919-3110
Children's Hospital Boston
Source:Eurekalert

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