Research at UC Berkeley is pointing the way to new therapies that can blunt or even reverse the effects of aging on muscles. In a new study led by Irina Conboy, a team of scientists determined that a molecule called TGF-beta played a key role in the deterioration of muscles. Blocking that pathway in mice reversed the physical effect in older mice. The researchers used RNAi technology to silence the molecule and then used snake venom to damage their muscles in the experiment. Older mice were able to produce new stem cells to repair the muscles, much the way that young mice were able to.
"We are one step closer to having a point of intervention where we can rejuvenate the body's own stem cells so we don't have to suffer from some of the debilitating diseases associated with aging," said the study's lead author, Morgan Carlson, a recent Ph.D. graduate of Conboy's lab.
- read the report from MIT Technology Review