Protein may help in muscular dystrophies

May 10, 2004 at 5:58 PM
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BETHESDA, Md., May 10 (UPI) -- U.S. scientists say a group of chemicals already being used as an anti-cancer drug can stimulate regeneration of adult skeletal muscle cells.

Researchers at the National Institutes of Health and colleagues and at other intuitions found the chemicals, called histone deacetylase, or HDAC inhibitors, increase the incidence of follistatin, a protein that can help repair cell damage in muscles. The findings may provide new avenues for developing effective means to promote regeneration in muscular dystrophies.

"Our findings establish for the first time that follistatin promotes the recruitment and fusion of immature muscle cells to pre-existing adult muscle fibers," said study leader Dr. Vittorio Sartorelli from the Muscle Gene Expression Group in the Laboratory of Muscle Biology.

"These results suggest that follistatin is a promising target for future drug development of muscle regeneration."

The study was published in May issue of Developmental Cell.

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