Muscular dystrophy symptoms in mice improved by supplementing diet with chemical called urolithin A
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.
BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences the website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biomedicine. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.
BPoD is also available in Catalan at www.bpod.cat with translations by the University of Valencia.