Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

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Renewable Energy

Muscular dystrophy symptoms in mice improved by supplementing diet with chemical called urolithin A

25 May 2021

Renewable Energy

Duchenne muscular dystrophy is a rare genetic disorder that brings progressive muscle loss from an early age. There is no cure, but here researchers investigate a promising treatment in a mouse’s muscle. With healthy cells highlighted in green under a high-powered microscope, a red stain picks out areas of damage – where muscle cells have become 'leaky'. Usually, dystrophy would paint the majority of this tissue red, but this mouse has a supplement to its diet – a chemical called urolithin A (UA). Researchers believe UA works to ensure damaged mitochondria (tiny cellular power stations abundant in muscle fibres) are cleared out of the way – a process called mitophagy which allows worn-out mitochondria to be replaced, reenergising the muscle tissue. Treatment with UA restored some function to muscle samples taken from human patients, too – raising hopes for future medical treatments.

Written by John Ankers

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