New research shows certain exercises can help with muscular dystrophy —


Muscular dystrophy is a debilitating illness that causes the weak point and breakdown of skeletal muscle groups that progressively worsens over time. In response to a staff of College of Maine researchers, sure actions could assist strengthen muscle groups affected by muscular dystrophy — they usually figured it out by stimulating zebrafish and watching them work out.

Zebrafish are an efficient check mannequin of muscular dystrophy due to the molecular similarities between zebrafish and human muscle groups. Zebrafish will also be bred with a mutation that intently fashions Duchenne muscular dystrophy, a extreme kind of muscular dystrophy that impacts younger boys.

Zebrafish cannot raise weights, although, so UMaine researchers used a course of referred to as neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES), which stimulates particular nerves to elicit muscle contraction. The researchers designed 4 NMES regimens and named them after 4 widespread weight lifting routines: energy, power, hypertrophy and endurance. The zebrafish had been then put into an underwater 3D printed “gymnasium” made up of tunnels and electrodes, and the researchers analyzed their skeletal muscle groups to see how that they had modified.

The examine discovered that whereas every of the NMES weight lifting “routines” affected the zebrafish neuromuscular junction morphology, swimming and survival in another way, just one — the endurance neuromuscular stimulation (eNMES) — improved all three, so long as it was accompanied by a sure antioxidant, heme oxygenase, and a receptor referred to as integrin alpha7.

“eNMES is outlined by high-frequency, low-voltage pulses, which has similarities to a high-repetition, low-weight exercise that we’d do within the gymnasium. The longstanding consensus within the muscular dystrophy discipline is that minimizing resistance coaching preserves muscle power and mass as a result of it lowers the danger for muscle harm. Nonetheless, our knowledge counsel {that a} sure degree of NMES-induced exercise is definitely helpful for general muscle well being,” says Elisabeth Kilroy, first creator of the examine who performed the analysis for her Ph.D. at UMaine. Kilroy is now the director of the neuroMuscular ObserVational Analysis (MOVR) on the Muscular Dystrophy Affiliation.

The examine was revealed March 24, 2022, within the journal ELife.

The analysis means that the best kind of resistance coaching is likely to be helpful to human sufferers with muscular dystrophy. There may be additionally potential for NMES to enhance mobility and power in sufferers with muscular dystrophy, although not a lot is understood about making use of the know-how this manner.

“I feel essentially the most thrilling side is that we established a mannequin for neuromuscular plasticity in wholesome versus diseased muscle, and this mannequin will permit us to elucidate mechanisms that may very well be the premise for potential therapeutics sooner or later,” says Clarissa Henry, professor of organic sciences, director of Graduate College of Biomedical Science and Engineering, and principal director of the Henry Lab.

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