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November 01, 2007

High endurance and enhanced longevity mouse created

One of my readers, Mav, pointed out that physorg.com has announced: Case Western Reserve University researchers have bred a line of “mighty mice” (PEPCK-Cmus mice) that have the capability of running five to six kilometers at a speed of 20 meters per minute on a treadmill for up to six hours before stopping.

This announcement is related to the myostatin blocking drugs which are four times more effective at building muscle than high doses of steroids.

“They are metabolically similar to Lance Armstrong biking up the Pyrenees; they utilize mainly fatty acids for energy and produce very little lactic acid,” said Richard W. Hanson, the Leonard and Jean Skeggs Professor of Biochemistry at Case Western Reserve and the senior author of the cover article that appeared in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, entitled “Over Expression of the Cytosolic Form of Phosphoenolpyruvate Carboxykinase (GTP) in Skeletal Muscle Repatterns Energy Metabolism in the Mouse.”

These genetically engineered mice also eat 60 percent more than controls, but remain fitter, trimmer and live and breed longer than wild mice in a control group. Some female PEPCK-Cmus mice have had offspring at 2.5 years of age, an amazing feat considering most mice do not reproduce after they are one year old. According to Hanson, the key to this remarkable alteration in energy metabolism is the over-expression of the gene for the enzyme phosphoenolypyruvate carboxykinases (PEPCK-C).

As part of this study, the researchers determined oxygen consumption, the production of carbon dioxide and changes in the lactate concentrations in the blood of the PEPCK-Cmus mice and controls during strenuous exercises on a treadmill, which was set at a 25-degree incline. The treadmill speed was increased by 2m/min every minute until the mice stopped running. The PEPCK-Cmus mice ran an average of 31.9 minutes, compared to 19 minutes for the control animals.

This new mouse line also has an increased content of mitochondria and high concentrations of triglycerides in their skeletal muscles, which also contributed to the increased metabolic rate and longevity of the animals.

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