Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Sport makes muscles and nerves fit

02.04.2014

Endurance sport does not only change the condition and fitness of muscles but also simultaneously improves the neuronal connections to the muscle fibers based on a muscle-induced feedback.

This link has been discovered by a research group at the Biozentrum of the University of Basel. The group was also able to induce the same effect through raising the protein concentration of PGC1α in the muscle. Their findings, which are also interesting in regard to muscle and nerve disorders such as muscle wasting and ALS, have been published in the current issue of the journal Nature Communications.


Neuromuscular junction: The motor neuron (red) is connected to the synaptic endplate on the muscle fiber (green).

Illustration: University of Basel, Biozentrum

It’s springtime – the start signal for all joggers. It is well known that a regular run through the forest makes your muscles fit. Responsible for this effect is the protein PGC1α, which plays a central role in the adaptation of muscles to training. The research team led by Prof. Christoph Handschin has discovered that such endurance training not only affects the condition of the muscles but also the upstream synaptic neuronal connections in a muscle-dependent manner.

PGC1α does not only make muscles fit

How do muscles change during muscle training or in muscle disease? Christoph Handschin and his team have been addressing this question for some years. In the past, they have already shown that the protein PGC1α plays a key role in the adaptation of the muscle by regulating the genes that cause the muscles to change accordingly to meet the more demanding requirements. When muscle is inactive or ill, only a low concentration of PGC1α is present. However, when the muscle is challenged, the PGC1α level increases. Through artificial elevation of the PGC1α concentration, it is possible to stimulate muscle endurance.

… but also the nerve connections

Now, the scientists have been able to demonstrate that the increase in muscle PGC1α concentration also improves the upstream synaptic nerve connections to the result of this feedback from muscle to the motor neuron: The health of the synapse improves and its activation pattern adapts to meet the requirements of the muscle. Until now, the influence of the muscle on the synaptic connection was primarily recognized in embryonic development. “That in adults, where the nerve and muscular systems are fully developed, not only the muscle changes due to an increase in PGC1α concentration but also a muscle-controlled improvement in the entire nerve and muscular system takes place, was completely unexpected and a great surprise to us”, says Handschin. “Our current aim is to identify the exact signal that leads to this stabilization of the synaptic connections, in order to apply this for treating muscle disorders.”

… and helps in the treatment of muscle and nerve disorders

A direct therapeutic application of the research findings in illnesses such as muscle wasting and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is already conceivable for Christoph Handschin. “In patients, whose muscles due to their illness are too weak to move on their own, an increase in PGC1α levels could strengthen muscles and nerves until the patients can move enough to finally do some physical therapy and to further improve their mobility”, he explains. After the pharmacological improvement of the health status of the muscles and nerves, the patient could independently continue their treatment through practicing endurance sports.

Original Citation
Anne-Sophie Arnold, Jonathan Gill, Martine Christe, Rocío Ruiz, Shawn McGuirk, Julie St-Pierre, Lucía Tabares & Christoph Handschin
Morphological and functional remodelling of the neuromuscular junction by skeletal muscle PGC-1α
Nature Communications, published 1 April 2014 | doi:10.1038/ncomms4569

Further Information
Prof. Christoph Handschin, University of Basel, Biozentrum, phone +41 61 267 23 78, email: christoph.handschin@unibas.ch

Weitere Informationen:

http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/ncomms4569 - Abstract
http://www.biozentrum.unibas.ch/research/groups-platforms/overview/unit/handschi... - Research Group Prof. Christoph Handschin >

Heike Sacher | Universität Basel

Further reports about: Biozentrum concentration connections disorders muscular nerves role wasting

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Protein Shake-Up
27.03.2015 | Oak Ridge National Laboratory

nachricht How did the chicken cross the sea?
27.03.2015 | Michigan State University

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Experiment Provides the Best Look Yet at 'Warm Dense Matter' at Cores of Giant Planets

In an experiment at the Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, scientists precisely measured the temperature and structure of aluminum as...

Im Focus: Energy-autonomous and wireless monitoring protects marine gearboxes

The IPH presents a solution at HANNOVER MESSE 2015 to make ship traffic more reliable while decreasing the maintenance costs at the same time. In cooperation with project partners, the research institute from Hannover, Germany, has developed a sensor system which continuously monitors the condition of the marine gearbox, thus preventing breakdowns. Special feature: the monitoring system works wirelessly and energy-autonomously. The required electrical power is generated where it is needed – directly at the sensor.

As well as cars need to be certified regularly (in Germany by the TÜV – Technical Inspection Association), ships need to be inspected – if the powertrain stops...

Im Focus: 3-D satellite, GPS earthquake maps isolate impacts in real time

Method produced by UI researcher could improve reaction time to deadly, expensive quakes

When an earthquake hits, the faster first responders can get to an impacted area, the more likely infrastructure--and lives--can be saved.

Im Focus: Atlantic Ocean overturning found to slow down already today

The Atlantic overturning is one of Earth’s most important heat transport systems, pumping warm water northwards and cold water southwards. Also known as the Gulf Stream system, it is responsible for the mild climate in northwestern Europe. 

Scientists now found evidence for a slowdown of the overturning – multiple lines of observation suggest that in recent decades, the current system has been...

Im Focus: Robot inspects concrete garage floors and bridge roadways for damage

Because they are regularly subjected to heavy vehicle traffic, emissions, moisture and salt, above- and underground parking garages, as well as bridges, frequently experience large areas of corrosion. Most inspection systems to date have only been capable of inspecting smaller surface areas.

From April 13 to April 17 at the Hannover Messe (hall 2, exhibit booth C16), engineers from the Fraunhofer Institute for Nondestructive Testing IZFP will be...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

World Conference On Regenerative Medicine 2015: Registration And Abstract Submission Now Open

25.03.2015 | Event News

University presidents from all over the world meet in Hamburg

19.03.2015 | Event News

10. CeBiTec Symposium zum Big Data-Problem

17.03.2015 | Event News

 
Latest News

HPC System Hornet Ready to Serve Highest Computational Demands

30.03.2015 | Information Technology

Citizen scientists map global forests

30.03.2015 | Earth Sciences

Researchers observe major hand hygiene problems in operating rooms

30.03.2015 | Studies and Analyses

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>