Thursday, January 04, 2007

Mighty Mouse, Explained

I know a fellow who, as part of the labwork for his M.D., had to anesthetize mice. I am told that the easy way to do it is to pull firmly on the tail, in order to snap the neck.

He would not have been so dispassionate I imagine, if he were dealing with these super-mice:

Throwing a genetic switch helps mice grow more of a mysterious muscle fiber that lets them run farther and longer than normal mice, a paper in the January issue of the journal Cell Metabolism reports.

A team at Harvard Medical School was able to increase the activity of a gene called PGC-1 beta in the mice.

The gene increases the growth of a little-understood muscle fiber called IIX, which is very efficient and very quick.

Usually a muscle fiber is one or the other.

The more IIX fibers in a muscle, the longer and harder it can work.

This could lead to drugs that change the composition of muscle, boosting strength and endurance in patients with muscle-wasting conditions, such as paraplegia and muscular dystrophies, says Bruce Spiegelman, who led the research.

Back to the top.

No comments: