Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

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Klotho- a protein important for muscle regeneration

29 December 2018

Youthful Healing

When a young person injures a muscle playing football, it’s often not long before they’re fit again and back on the pitch. But should the same injury hit an older person, recovery can take much longer. New research has found a key substance – a protein called Klotho – that flies into action following injury in youngsters, but stays relatively inactive in older people. To test whether it really does drive recovery, the team genetically engineered mice to lack Klotho, and compared their recovery to normal healthy mice. Their muscle tissue took much longer to heal (right, with tears in the green muscle tissue still visible) than in mice naturally aided by the healing powers of Klotho (left, with well healed, consistent muscle fibres). The researchers even managed to improve regeneration in older mice by providing Klotho, which means it might one day help get older people get back up and running faster.

Written by Anthony Lewis

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