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Muscle-targeted gene therapy reverses rare muscular dystrophy in mice

Gene therapy methods that specifically target muscle may reverse the symptoms of a rare form of muscular dystrophy, according to new research in mice conducted by medical geneticists at Duke University Medical Center. Infants born with the inherited muscular disorder called Pompe disease usually die before they reach the age of two. The researchers also said their approach of targeting corrective...

X-Ray Beams And Fruit Fly 'Flight Simulator' Aid Scientists' View Of Muscle Power

What is the connection between a fly’s aerodynamic skill and human heart function? Using the nation’s most brilliant X-rays, located at the Advanced Photon Source at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory, a cardiac molecular motors expert from the University of Vermont (UVM) and colleagues from the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) and Caltech performed research to answ...

Heart repair gets new muscle

Some organs in the human body deal with injury better than others. A flesh wound or muscle tear might hurt, but, assuming you are otherwise healthy, both will heal. The prognosis for a heart attack, on the other hand, is not so clear-cut. . .. In a new study published in the p...

Young Blood Revives Aging Muscles, Stanford Researchers Find

Any older person can attest that aging muscles don't heal like young ones. But it turns out that's not the muscle's fault. A study in the Feb. 17 issue of Nature shows that it's old blood that keeps the muscles down. .. The study, led by Thomas Rando, MD, PhD, associate professor of neurology and neurological sciences at the Stanford University School of Medicine, built on previous work showing t...

Small worm yields big clue on muscle receptor action

Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago have identified an elusive subunit of a neurotransmitter receptor found in both humans and the much-studied laboratory nematode C. elegans which may open new pathways of research on muscle function. . The neurotransmitter acetylcholine binds to two different nicotinic receptors at the nematode's neuromuscular junctions, causing them to contract...

New complete muscle grown in the lab

A multinational team of researchers has grown new muscle complete with its own network of blood vessels in the laboratory, and implanted the new muscle in a living mouse. The accomplishment is a first for tissue engineering, according to a report in the June 19 issue of Nature Biotechnology. . Lead researcher Dr. Shulamit Levenberg of the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, along with scient...

Spiders help scientists discover how muscles relax

Using muscle tissue from tarantulas, an HHMI international research scholar and his colleagues have figured out the detailed structure and arrangement of the miniature molecular motors that control movement. Their work, which takes advantage of a new technique for visualizing tissues in their natural state, provides new insights into the molecular basis of muscle relaxation, and perhaps its activ...

USC researchers determine mechanism of action of chemotherapy drug

The chemotherapy drug motexafin gadolinium (brand name: Xcytrin, manufactured by Pharmacyclics, Inc.) works to thwart cancer cells by disrupting key enzymes involved in cellular metabolism, according to a team of researchers led by Joseph Hacia, Ph.D., assistant professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California. . The cellular...

Chemical 'band-aid' prevents heart failure in mice with muscular dystrophy

A common chemical used in the manufacturing and pharmaceutical industries can repair damage to cardiac muscle cell membranes and prevent heart failure in mice with the genetic mutation that causes Duchenne muscular dystrophy, according to scientists at the University of Michigan Medical School. . The mutation in the dystrophin gene causes the progressive deterioration of skeletal muscles seen in...

Gorilla susceptibility to Ebola virus: the cost of sociality

By monitoring a large population of gorillas during an Ebola outbreak in the rain forest of the Republic of the Congo, researchers have found that in a few months the virus exhibited dramatic--but disproportionate--impacts on group-dwelling and solitary gorillas. The findings offer a unique glimpse into the factors affecting the threat the deadly virus poses to great apes. . The work is reported...

Can't serve an ace? Could be muscle fatigue

Fatigue could reduce skills and cause injuries and muscle weakness during sport because the brain does not consider the extra effort required for movement, Monash University researchers have found. .. . .....

Lance Armstrong through a physiological lens: hard training boosts muscle power 8%

Catch an athlete with clear potential early in his career, study his physiology over an incredibly eventful seven years including victory in the Tour de France, and you might uncover some incredibly important, indeed amazing facts about what training and dedication can accomplish. . What Edward F. Coyle of the University of Texas-Austin found out about Lance Armstrong was that from 1992-1999, the...

Muscle repair: Making a good system better, faster; implications for aging, disease

Skeletal muscles naturally repair themselves very efficiently after injury. But when they don't, otherwise successful recovery following damage from overuse during exercise, surgery or trauma can be stymied. Furthermore, as we age, muscle repair slows noticeably, and in Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy and other degenerative muscle diseases, normal repair functions can't cope with disease progression....

No small feat: First ever gene therapy success for muscular dystrophy achieved

Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh report the first study to achieve success with gene therapy for the treatment of congenital muscular dystrophy (CMD) in mice, demonstrating that the formidable scientific challenges that have cast doubt on gene therapy ever being feasible for children with muscular dystrophy can be overcome. Moreover, their results, published in this week's online edi...

Researchers Discover Gene That Determines Asthma Susceptibility By Regulating Inflammation

Disruption of a single gene, Nrf2, plays a critical role in determining the susceptibility to asthma. A research team led by Shyam Biswal, PhD, at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health found the absence of Nrf2 exacerbated allergen-mediated asthma in mice models. The study’s findings, published in the July 4, 2005, edition of the Journal of Experimental Medicine, may hold therapeuti...

miRNAs and musculature

In an effort to understand the biological function of the microRNA mir1, Drs. Nicholas Sokol and Victor Ambros (Darmouth Medical School) have studied the expression profile, transcriptional regulation and loss-of-function phenotype of Drosophila mir-1 (Dmir-1). Mir-1 is an evolutionarily conserved miRNA, whose expression in mouse and humans is limited to heart and skeletal muscle. Strikingly, th...

Gene therapy reverses genetic mutation responsible for heart failure in muscular dystrophy

University of Pittsburgh investigators have for the first time used gene therapy to successfully treat heart failure and other degenerative muscle problems in an animal model that is genetically susceptible to a human muscular dystrophy. Reporting in the Oct. 25 edition of the journal Circulation, the authors say that this is the first successful attempt to deliver a therapeutic gene throughout t...

Gene therapy for muscular dystrophy fixes frail muscle cells in animal model, Stanford study finds

A new gene therapy technique that has shown promise in skin disease and hemophilia might one day be useful for treating muscular dystrophy, according to a new study by researchers at Stanford University School of Medicine. . In the study, scheduled to be published online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences the week of Jan. 2, the researchers used gene therapy to introduce a hea...

USC researchers track down the stem cells that create feathers

The stem cells that produce bird feathers have been visualized and analyzed for the first time, signifying the initial step in a scientific journey that may ultimately shed light on human organ regeneration. . .. "What we found is that feather stem cells are distributed in a ring configuration around the inner wall of the vase-shaped feather follicle. This is different from hair...

Mouse study: New muscle-building agent beats all previous ones

The Johns Hopkins scientists who first created "mighty mice" have developed, with pharmaceutical company Wyeth and the biotechnology firm MetaMorphix, an agent that's more effective at increasing muscle mass in mice than a related potential treatment for muscular dystrophy now in clinical trials. . The new agent is a version of a cellular docking point for the muscle-limiting protein myostatin. I...

Stem cells from muscles can repair cartilage

Damage to articular cartilage (cartilage covering the ends of bones where they meet in a joint) frequently occurs due to injury or illness, and can lead to degenerative disease. Treatments and experimental approaches to repair this articular cartilage have achieved limited results, but currently there is no method to fully restore this type of injured cartilage. Tissue engineering involving the d...

Stem cell study for patients with heart attack damage seeks to regenerate heart muscle

Rush cardiologists are hoping that transplanted stem cells can regenerate damaged heart muscle in those who experience a first heart attack. The study involves an intravenous infusion of adult mesenchymal stem cells from healthy donor bone marrow that might possibly reverse damage to heart tissue. . .. "A person who h...

U-M scientists identify major psoriasis susceptibility gene

University of Michigan scientists have found a common genetic variation in an immune system gene that makes people much more likely to develop psoriasis ?a disfiguring inflammatory skin disease. . .. The gene's causative role in psoriasis was demonstrated in a University of Michigan Medi...

USC, Rice to develop bacteria-powered fuel cells

A diverse team of microbiologists, engineers and geochemists from the University of Southern California and Rice University are joining forces to create bacteria-powered fuel cells that could power spy drones that fit in the palm of a hand. . The Air Force has long been interested in micro-scale air vehicles ?some as small as insects ?but it has been stymied by the lack of a suitable, compact pow...

The giant protein titin helps build muscles

Imagine grabbing two snakes by the tail so that they can't wriggle off in opposite directions. Scientists at the Hamburg Outstation of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) and collaborators from King's College in London have now discovered that something similar happens to a protein that is crucial in the formation of muscle tissue. Their work appears in the current issue of the journ...

USC researchers investigate protein that protects tumors

A protein that allows breast cancer cells to evade the body's natural immune responses could be a target of future cancer therapies, according to a study by scientists from the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California. . .. "The important aspect of this study is that ?if we turn the protein [EphB4] off, the tumor cells die, which means that its function helps the cancer ce...

Toxic molecule may cause most common type of muscular dystrophy

Doctors at the University of Virginia Health System have shown for the first time that getting rid of poisonous RNA (ribonucleic acid) in muscle cells can reverse myotonic dystrophy, the most common type of muscular dystrophy in adults. . .. To prove the theory that toxic RNA is involved in myotonic muscular dyst...

Study identifies new role for breast cancer susceptibility gene

A recently discovered facet of the breast cancer susceptibility gene BRCA1 reveals a mechanism linking mutation of BRCA1 to formation of large blood vessels needed to support cancer progression. The findings demonstrate that, in addition to an impaired DNA damage response associated with cancer initiation, mutation of BRCA1 is also linked to manipulation of the tumor microenvironment. The researc...

New roles for growth factors: Enticing nerve cells to muscles

During embryonic development, nerve cells hesitantly extend tentacle-like protrusions called axons that sniff their way through a labyrinth of attractive and repulsive chemical cues that guide them to their target. . .. "The most important aspect of our...

Natural pine bark extract relieves muscle cramp and pain in athletes and diabetics

A study published in this month's issue of Angiology shows that supplementation with the pine bark extract Pycnogenol® (pic-noj-en-all) improves blood flow to the muscles which speeds recovery after physical exercise. The study of 113 participants demonstrated that Pycnogenol significantly reduces muscular pain and cramps in athletes and healthy, normal individuals. . "With the millions of athle...

Reversing 'hibernating' heart muscle focus of UB researchers

Heart researchers at the University at Buffalo have received a $2.5 million five-year grant to develop new strategies to reverse a heart dysfunction called "hibernating myocardium" that can cause disabling heart failure and sudden death. . .. The new grant from the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute b...

Gene therapy accelerates healing of damaged skeletal muscle

A new retrospective study in the Canadian Medical Association Journal shows that young farm children, particularly boys, are about twice as likely as the total population of young Canadian children to die from an injury. . Brison and colleagues collected and analyzed Canadian data on fatal agricultural injuries to young children to determine rates, identify patterns and devise prevention strategi...

Scientists resuscitate a 5 million-year-old retrovirus

A team of scientists has reconstructed the DNA sequence of a 5-million-year-old retrovirus and shown that it is able to produce infectious particles. The retrovirus--named Phoenix--is the ancestor of a large family of mobile DNA elements, some of which may play a role in cancer. The study, which is the first to generate an infectious retrovirus from a mobile element in the human genome, is cons...

Eat less, weigh more? Enzyme makes lean mice 'susceptible' to dietary fat

Working with genetically engineered mice, Johns Hopkins scientists have interfered with the brain's ability to control an animal's response to a high-fat diet. The report, to be published in the latest issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences online the week of May 1, is based on the identification of a gene - CPT1c - the brain needs to manage body weight. . According to the...

Resistant bacteria increasing source of muscle infection

An antibiotic-resistant bacteria called methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is increasingly a cause of muscle infections in children, said Baylor College of Medicine (BCM) researchers in a report in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases. . .. "We had noticed an increase in the number of muscle infections," said Dr. Pia Pannaraj, a post-doctoral fellow in the de...

USC team reveals structure of APOBEC family protein

Researchers at the University of Southern California have provided the first 3-D view of a protein from an enzyme family that, through its ability to mutate genes, can both help and hinder human health. . .. "This three-dimensional structure offers the first mechanistic analysis of any of the APOBEC enzymes at the molecular level. These proteins are important for understanding a number of critic...

Experimental cancer drugs counter muscle deterioration seen in muscular dystrophy

Muscle weakness and fiber deterioration seen in muscular dystrophy can be countered by a class of drugs currently under study for their effects against cancer, a Burnham Institute study has found. . The report shed light on the potential use of these drugs, called histone deacetylase inhibitors, in promoting regeneration and repair of dystrophic muscles, thereby countering the progression of the...

Muscle and bone from an ink-jet printer

A Pittsburgh-based research team has used an innovative inkjet system to print unique "bio-ink" patterns that directed adult muscle-derived stem cells from mice to differentiate into both muscle cells and bone cells. . .. Bioengineers from Carnegie Mellon University’s Robotics Institute and the Institute for Complex Engineered Systems teamed with stem cell biologists from the University of Pitts...

Fast-freeze snapshot yields new picture of nerve-muscle junction

When nerve cells excite muscle fibers to flex, getting synaptic proteins and components into the right place can mean the difference between feats of strength or lapses of drowsy lethargy. . .. Investigators report the finding in the...

A new approach to growing heart muscle

It looks, contracts and responds almost like natural heart muscle ?even though it was grown in the lab. And it brings scientists another step closer to the goal of creating replacement parts for damaged human hearts, or eventually growing an entirely new heart from just a spoonful of loose heart cells. . .. The three-dimensiona...
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