Healthy military personnel and muscular dystrophy patients are at opposite ends of the spectrum when is comes to muscle strength and resilience. However, a new University of Iowa study may provide insights that improve muscle health for both these groups.
Researchers in the UI Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine have been awarded a four-year, $1.97 million grant from the United States Department of Defense to study how muscles resist damage and repair damage that does occur. Improved understanding of the mechanisms involved in muscle resilience and repair could lead to strategies for enhancing muscle recovery following strenuous exercise, or treating muscle deterioration caused by diseases like muscular dystrophy.
The study, led by Kevin Campbell, Ph.D., the Roy J. Carver Chair of Physiology and Biophysics and interim head of the department, professor of neurology, and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) Investigator, will build on earlier muscular dystrophy studies from Campbell's lab that identified important roles for two proteins in muscle maintenance and repair. Steven Moore, M.D., Ph.D., UI professor of pathology, is co-principal investigator on the grant.
The UI team previously discovered that the action of a sugar-adding protein called LARGE prevents muscle deterioration caused by muscular dystrophy by restoring the function of a critical muscle protein. Campbell's lab also discovered that a protein called dysferlin is required for muscle repair.
The team will use the grant to conduct a series of experiments to investigate how dysferlin and LARGE function in muscle cells, and to learn if increased expression of either protein leads to enhanced muscle membrane strength or improved reparative capabilities in normal or dystrophic muscle.