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Experimental Drug Could Build Lean Muscle Without Exercise

If successful, the drug SR9009 could potentially help reverse obesity and diabetes.

Leah Gonzalez
Leah Gonzalez on August 21, 2013. @leahgonz

A drug called SR9009 has been found to increase exercise endurance in mice. The drug reportedly increased the metabolic activity in mice muscles and the mice that received the drug exhibited an increase in running capacity, which was measured in terms of time and distance.

The SR9009 drug is one of two compounds developed in the laboratory of Thomas Burris, professor at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI). The compounds were found to have reduced obesity in animal models, as described in a paper published on the Nature online journal in March this year.

Scripps-Research-Institute-SR9009

The drug works by attaching itself to Rev-erbα, a nuclear receptor that influences fat and sugar metabolism in the liver, fat-storing cell production, and the response of the body during inflammation.

In the study with SR9009, the researchers used the drug to activate Rev-erbα and the drug helped increase the metabolic activity in the skeletal muscles of the mice. According to Burris, the mice gained muscles like that of ‘an athlete who has been training.’

The pattern of gene expression after treatment with SR9009 is that of an oxidative-type muscle— again, just like an athlete.

Lab-Mice-2

According to the researchers, SR9009 has the potential to be beneficial to patients who suffer from conditions such as obesity, diabetes, congestive heart failure, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease–conditions that limit the patients’ tolerance for exercise.

The study, published in Nature Medicine in July, was conducted by researchers from the Institut Pasteur de Lille in France, TSRI, Université Lille Nord de France, and Maastricht University Medical Center in the Netherlands. It was supported by various grants.

The Scripps Research Institute

Images by ggvic, swardraws, and TSRI

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