Exercise in a Bottle? New Drugs May Mimic Physical Activity
The benefits of exercise might soon be available in pill form, according to new research from the University of Sydney.
A team from the school's Charles Perkins Centre found more than 1,000 molecular changes that occur in muscles when we exercise, providing researchers with the first-of-its-kind "blueprint" for exactly what happens when the body gets physical activity.
“Exercise is the most powerful therapy for many human diseases, including type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and neurological disorders,” said Professor David James, head of the research team that led the study.
However, according to James, exercise isn't always a treatment option for some patients, which means developing drugs that mimic its effects could be groundbreaking.
A 'major breakthrough'
In the study, researchers analyzed the human skeletal muscle biopsies of four healthy males after 10 minutes of high-intensity exercise. A technique called protein phosphorylation was used to analyze the changes that occurred in the muscles after physical activity.
“Exercise produces an extremely complex, cascading set of responses within human muscle. It plays an essential role in controlling energy metabolism and insulin sensitivity,” said co-author Dr Nolan Hoffman.
A pill can't completely replace exercise, Hoffamn warned, but the goal is to replicate the most critical of the 1,000+ changes the researchers observed into some type of treatment that could help stave off serious health conditions like heart disease or insulin resistance.
“While scientists have long suspected that exercise causes a complicated series of changes to human muscle, this is the first time we have been able to map exactly what happens," he said.
Source: University of Sydney