Scientists are working on a gene therapy that will stimulate super-human muscle growth with no apparent side effects.

As published in the journal Science Translational Medicine, researchers at the National Children’s Hospital (NCH) and Ohio State University have proven that blocking myostatin in monkeys will lead to skeletal muscle growth with few or no discernible negative side effects. Myostatin is the protein that helps mammals regulate muscle building, acting as a signal for muscles to stop consuming resources and stop growing. Blocking myostatin leads to enhanced muscle strength and continuous muscle growth. ...

My concerns about myostatin have largely focused on potential organ damage, possible unknown dangerous effects on smooth muscle tissue, and ligament/tendon stresses. The NCH work addresses these concerns rather well. Macaques were observed for 15 months after receiving a gene therapy that promoted follistatin (and blocked myostatin) in their quadriceps. There was no observed damage to internal organs, the treatment only seemed to affect skeletal muscle, the reproductive cycles and cells functioned normally, and there was no reported damaged to tendons or ligaments (though this last issue wasn’t expressly pursued by the research).

Check out that awesome cow!

Aside from helping people with muscular dystrophy -- which is awesome -- adding muscle would also let the rest of us eat whatever we want and still stay in shape. Sounds too good to be true....

(HT: NW.)

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