A Pill to Let Overweight People Work out Longer

Doctors have come up with a drug that will help overweight people not to get tired during exercise.

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Thomas Burris from the Scripps Research Institute in Jupiter (USA) and his colleagues have come up with how to increase muscle efficiency in obese people. Having compared muscle cells structure of normal and obese mice, scientists have paid particular attention to the genes that control the “power plants” of cells, the mitochondria. Typically, the mitochondria in the muscles of obese people do not cope with burning calories, which get stocked in adipose tissue and liver.

It was found that the muscles of obese mice contained unusually little Rev-erb-alpha receptors associated with sugar and more often found in fat and liver cells. Then it was assumed that this part of the cell nucleus can control the activity of oxygen and nutrients absorption and convert them into muscle contraction.

The scientists tested this theory by “turning off” the Rev-erb-alpha gene in muscle cells inside mouse embryos using gene therapy. The newborn rodents had extremely low stamina and got tired very quickly during exercise. This was because their muscles contained 40% less mitochondria and oxidized glucose with unsufficient speed.

The scientists conducted a reverse experiment – they fed obese mice with SR9009 drug, stimulating the work of Rev-erb-alpha in the muscles. As a result, the rodents’ muscles transformed and began to resemble the muscles of athletes, due to which the mice began to run up to 50% longer than before. According to the researchers, the results allow using the medicine to help overweight people who are trying to lose weight through aerobics, running and exercise.

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