Science is closer to a drug to give the benefits of exercise without the sweat

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Scientists are closer to creating drugs which mimic the benefits of exercise.

Research at the University of Sydney’s Charles Perkins Centre has identified a thousand molecular changes in muscles during exercise, providing the world’s first comprehensive exercise blueprint.

“Exercise is the most powerful therapy for many human diseases, including type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and neurological disorders,” says Professor David James, the head of the research group.

“However, for many people, exercise isn’t a viable treatment option. This means it is essential we find ways of developing drugs that mimic the benefits of exercise.”

The scientists, in collaboration with researchers from the University of Copenhagen in Denmark, analysed human skeletal muscle biopsies from four untrained, healthy males following 10 minutes of high intensity exercise.

Using a technique known as mass spectrometry to study a process called protein phosphorylation, the researchers found intensive exercise triggers more than 1000 changes.

While scientists suspected that exercise causes a complicated series of changes to human muscle, this is the first time exactly what happens has been mapped.

“This is a major breakthrough, as it allows scientists to use this information to design a drug that mimics the true beneficial changes caused by exercise,” says co-author Dr Nolan Hoffman from the Charles Perkins Centre and Faculty of Science.

The research has been published in the Cell Metabolism.

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