Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Target That Could Ease Spinal Muscular Atrophy Symptoms Discovered

Date:
January 12, 2009
Source:
University of Missouri-Columbia
Summary:
There is no cure for spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), a genetic disorder that causes the weakening of muscles and is the leading genetic cause of infant death, but researchers have discovered a new therapeutic target that improves deteriorating skeletal muscle tissue caused by SMA. The new therapy enhanced muscle strength, improved gross motor skills and increased the lifespan in a SMA model.

There is no cure for spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), a genetic disorder that causes the weakening of muscles and is the leading genetic cause of infant death, but University of Missouri researchers have discovered a new therapeutic target that improves deteriorating skeletal muscle tissue caused by SMA. The new therapy enhanced muscle strength, improved gross motor skills and increased the lifespan in a SMA model.

Related Articles


“This therapy does not directly target the disease-causing gene; instead it targets the pathways that affect muscle maintenance and growth,” said Chris Lorson, investigator in the Christopher S. Bond Life Sciences Center and associate professor of veterinary pathobiology in the MU College of Veterinary Medicine. “We administered a particular protein, follistatin, to SMA mouse models to determine if enhanced muscle mass impacts the symptoms of SMA. After treatment, the mice had increased muscle mass, gross motor function improvement and an increase in average life span of 30 percent.”

With the therapy, MU researchers inhibited myostatin, a protein that limits muscle tissue growth. Myostatin activity can be reduced significantly by enabling several proteins that bind to myostatin, including follistatin. When myostatin is inhibited, muscle mass and strength increase.

SMA is caused by the loss of survival motor neuron-1(SMN1). Humans have a nearly identical copy gene called SMN2. Because of a single molecular difference, SMN2 alone cannot compensate for the loss of SMN1.

“While most work in the SMA field has logically focused on targeting the SMN2 gene, the results of this study suggest that skeletal muscle is a viable therapeutic target that may reduce the severity of some SMA symptoms,” said Lorson, who also is the scientific director for FightSMA, a private spinal muscular atrophy research foundation in Richmond, Va. “Because follistatin does not alter the expression level of SMN protein, the most effective treatment would combine strategies that directly address the genetic defect in SMA as well as SMN-independent strategies that enhance skeletal muscle.”

Recently, Lorson was awarded a $370,000 grant from the Muscular Dystrophy Association to continue his research on the role of muscle in SMA.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Missouri-Columbia. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Rose et al. Delivery of recombinant follistatin lessens disease severity in a mouse model of Spinal Muscular Atrophy. Human Molecular Genetics, December 2008; DOI: 10.1093/hmg/ddn426

Cite This Page:

University of Missouri-Columbia. "Target That Could Ease Spinal Muscular Atrophy Symptoms Discovered." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 January 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/01/090107122656.htm>.
University of Missouri-Columbia. (2009, January 12). Target That Could Ease Spinal Muscular Atrophy Symptoms Discovered. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/01/090107122656.htm
University of Missouri-Columbia. "Target That Could Ease Spinal Muscular Atrophy Symptoms Discovered." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/01/090107122656.htm (accessed December 19, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, December 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Kids Die While Under Protective Services

Kids Die While Under Protective Services

AP (Dec. 18, 2014) As part of a six-month investigation of child maltreatment deaths, the AP found that hundreds of deaths from horrific abuse and neglect could have been prevented. AP's Haven Daley reports. (Dec. 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dads-To-Be Also Experience Hormone Changes During Pregnancy

Dads-To-Be Also Experience Hormone Changes During Pregnancy

Newsy (Dec. 18, 2014) A study from University of Michigan researchers found that expectant fathers see a decrease in testosterone as the baby's birth draws near. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Prenatal Exposure To Pollution Might Increase Autism Risk

Prenatal Exposure To Pollution Might Increase Autism Risk

Newsy (Dec. 18, 2014) Harvard researchers found children whose mothers were exposed to high pollution levels in the third trimester were twice as likely to develop autism. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
UN: Up to One Million Facing Hunger in Ebola-Hit Countries

UN: Up to One Million Facing Hunger in Ebola-Hit Countries

AFP (Dec. 17, 2014) Border closures, quarantines and crop losses in West African nations battling the Ebola virus could lead to as many as one million people going hungry, UN food agencies said on Wednesday. Duration: 00:52 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins