4 April DRC Researcher Chris Adams Develops New Therapy for Age-Related Muscle Atrophy April 4, 2016 By The Fraternal Order of Eagles Diabetes Research Center 0 Scientists at the FOE Diabetes Research Center and University of Iowa have discovered the first example of a protein that causes muscle weakness and loss during aging. The protein, ATF4, is a transcription factor that alters gene expression in skeletal muscle, causing reduction of muscle protein synthesis, strength, and mass. The UI study also identifies two natural compounds, one found in apples and one found in green tomatoes, which reduce ATF4 activity in aged skeletal muscle. "Many of us know from our own experiences that muscle weakness and atrophy are big problems as we become older," says Christopher Adams, MD, PhD, UI professor of internal medicine, senior study author. "These problems have a major impact on our quality of life and health." In this study, Adams' team found that ursolic acid and tomatidine dramatically reduce age-related muscle weakness and atrophy in mice. Elderly mice with age-related muscle weakness and atrophy were fed diets lacking or containing either 0.27 percent ursolic acid, or 0.05 percent tomatidine for two months. The scientists found that both compounds increased muscle mass by 10 percent, and more importantly, increased muscle quality, or strength, by 30 percent. The sizes of these effects suggest that the compounds largely restored muscle mass and strength to young adult levels. "Based on these results, ursolic acid and tomatidine appear to have a lot of potential as tools for dealing with muscle weakness and atrophy during aging," Adams says. "We also thought we might be able to use ursolic acid and tomatidine as tools to find a root cause of muscle weakness and atrophy during aging." Adams' team investigated the molecular effects of ursolic acid and tomatidine in aged skeletal muscle. They found that both compounds turn off a group of genes that are turned on by the transcription factor ATF4. This led them to engineer and study a new strain of mice that lack ATF4 in skeletal muscle. Like old muscles that were treated with ursolic acid and tomatidine, old muscles lacking ATF4 were resistant to the effects of aging. "By reducing ATF4 activity, ursolic acid and tomatidine allow skeletal muscle to recover from effects of aging," says Adams, who also is a member of the Fraternal Order of Eagles Diabetes Research Center at the UI and a staff physician with the Iowa City Veterans Affairs Medical Center. The UI study was done in collaboration with Emmyon, Inc., a UI-based biotechnology company founded by Adams, that is now working to translate ursolic acid and tomatidine into foods, supplements, and pharmaceuticals that can help preserve or recover strength and muscle mass as people grow older. In addition to Adams, the UI team included Michael Dyle, Steven Bullard, Jason Dierdorff, Daryl Murry, Daniel Fox, Kale Bongers, Vitor Lira, and David Meyerholz, as well as Scott Ebert and John Talley at Emmyon, Inc. Related Articles Adams Named Fraternal Order of Eagles Diabetes Research Chair Christopher Adams, MD, PhD, has been named the Fraternal Order of Eagles Diabetes Research Chair. This position has been endowed by the Fraternal Order of Eagles (FOE) to propel and accelerate the pace of discoveries in the FOE Diabetes Research Center (FOEDRC), whose mission is to advance knowledge of the mechanisms of diabetes and its related complications through cutting-edge research. Stressing Muscle Metabolism Prevents Obesity and Type 2 Diabetes Exciting new research was recently published in the EMBO Journal by the laboratory of FOEDRC Director, Dale Abel. The study suggests that gently stressing muscle metabolism could help prevent obesity and type 2 diabetes. The study was carried out on mice where the team found triggering a type of metabolic stress increased levels of a hormone called fibroblast growth factor-21 (FGF21). The findings showed the animals were completely protected from obesity and diabetes. Interestingly, in the mice which had already started to develop the condition, the hormone reversed the diabetes and helped them return to a normal weight with normal blood sugar levels. New Muscle Wasting Research Holds Promise at UI DRC Director's Report, October 2017 A hearty “Congratulations!” is in order for Dr. Christopher Adams, Professor of Endocrinology and Metabolism, and member of the FOE DRC who is the recipient of a five-year, $2.4M grant from the National Institutes of Health to study skeletal muscle atrophy. Dr. Adams holds an FOEDRC endowed chair, and this recent success underscores the important impact of the investment of the FOEDRC towards the ongoing success of his research program. In preliminary studies, performed in mouse models, Dr. Adams and members of his lab identified the first example of a protein that is required for the loss of skeletal muscle mass, quality, strength, and endurance exercise capacity during aging: the transcription factor ATF4. Our Grand Presidents Wish You A Very Merry Christmas! Brothers and Sisters, We would like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a safe and happy holiday season. For the Fraternal Order of Eagles, this season truly exemplifies our commitment to charity and community service. During the holiday season, we send care packages to troops serving overseas through our Operation Eagle program, which is funded exclusively by our members. Across the United States and Canada, our 1,500+ locations organize holiday fundraisers, plan children’s parties and shopping sprees, and donate their time and money to help feed families in need. We always make it an organizational priority to give our best to those most in need each Winter. Currently, we’re on track for a successful membership year, however we must continue to work hard to recruit new members and meet our goal of Net Gain +2%. To help reach our mark, we’re asking everyone to “Give The Gift Of Membership” this holiday season by reaching out to someone you know who is contemplating membership with the F.O.E. and paying their first years dues. DRC Researcher Sah Awarded Grant From ADA Rajan Sah, M.D., Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine Cardiology Division and member of the Fraternal Order of Eagles Diabetes Research Center was recently awarded a Research Grant from the American Diabetes Association (ADA). The project entitled: SWELL1 regulation of ß-cell excitability and insulin secretion will be supported by the $345,000 award over the next three years. Also, this leading edge experimentation was published in the January issue of Nature Communication. Merry Christmas from Carl & Althea Brothers and Sisters, It’s the giving season - what better way to celebrate the holidays than by putting that charitable energy back into your community. As we celebrate the holidays with our beloved family and friends, we should take the time to reflect on the charitable acts that took place in 2018. Throughout the 2017 and 2018 fraternal year, more than $3,600,000 was donated to the Charity Foundation. Which is an impressive feat that exemplifies your hard work and selfless dedication to helping others. Showing 0 Comment Comments are closed.