Scientists identify drug that mimics effects of exercise on muscle and bone

  • Regular exercise can make you look and feel great. But did you know that it also helps to maintain your bones and muscles? Locomotor frailty is a condition that prevents people from engaging in physical activity. It causes weakness of the bones and muscles. Researchers in Japan recently discovered a new drug that induces similar effects to exercise and may help with locomotor frailty.

    Inactivity can lead to a weakness of the muscles (known sarcopenia), and bone loss (known as Osteoporosis). These frailties can be eliminated by exercising. It increases muscle strength, promotes bone formation, and suppresses bone resorption. Exercise therapy is not applicable to all clinical cases. Sarcopenia or osteoporosis can be treated with drug therapy, particularly if the patient has dementia, cerebrovascular disease, or is already bedridden. There is not one drug that can address both of these issues at once.

    Researchers from Tokyo Medical and Dental University (TMDU), have created a novel screening system for drugs to find a compound that mimics changes in muscle and bones that result from exercise. This new study was published in bone Research. The screening system allowed researchers to identify the aminoindazole derivative locamidazole. LAMZ could stimulate the growth muscle cells and bone-forming cell growth ( Osteblasts) while inhibiting bone-resorbing cells growth ( Osteclasts).

    LAMZ could be administered orally to mice without any side effects. Takehito Ono, the lead author of the study, said that LAMZ-treated mice had a greater muscle fiber width, higher maximal muscle strength, and lower bone formation activity.

    Further research was done to determine the mode of LAMZ’s function and discovered that LAMZ mimics PGC-1a and calcium signaling pathways. These pathways are activated by exercise and stimulate the expression of downstream molecules involved in maintaining muscle and bone.

    LAMZ was administered to an animal model with osteoporosis and sarcopenia by the TMDU-led team. Tomoki Nakashima, senior author, says that both subcutaneous and oral administrations of the drug significantly improved the muscles and bones performance of mice with locomotor dysfunction.

    The research team concluded that LAMZ could be a therapeutic option for treating locomotor frailty through mimicking exercise.

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