Alcoholism Weakens Muscle Strength?
(Ivanhoe Newswire) – New findings show mitochondrial repair may be to blame for muscle weakness in mitochondrial diseases and in long-time alcoholics. The link provides researchers a new way to diagnose mitochondrial disease and a new drug target.
For the study, researchers created a system to tag mitochondria in skeletal muscles of rats. The results showed for the first time that mitochondrial fusion occurs in muscle cells. The team identified that motofusin fusion proteins, particularly Mfn1, was most important in skeletal muscle cells. Mfn1 abundance went down by 50 percent in rats on a regular alcohol diet while other fusion proteins were unchanged. When Mfn1 was restored, so was mitochondrial fusion. They also linked decreased Mfn1 and mitochondrial fusion to increased muscle fatigue.
“That alcohol can have a specific effect on this one gene involved in mitochondrial fusion suggests that other environmental factors may also specifically alter mitochondrial fusion and repair,” research leader Dr. Gyorgy Hajnoczky, M.D., Ph.D, Director of Jefferson’s MitoCare Center, was quoted as saying. “Knowing the proteins involved in the process gives us the possibility of developing a drug.”
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SOURCE: The Journal of Cell Biology, April 2014
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