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  • Conversation: Study suggests method to boost growth of blood vessels and muscle

    • March 25, 2018 8:05 PM BST
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      Study suggests method to boost growth of blood vessels and muscle

      As we get older, our endurance declines, in part because our blood vessels lose some of their capacity to deliver oxygen and nutrients to muscle tissue. An MIT-led research team has now found that it can reverse this age-related endurance loss in mice by treating them with a compound that promotes new blood vessel growth.
      The study found that the compound, which re-activates longevity-linked proteins called sirtuins, promotes the growth of blood vessels and muscle, boosting the endurance of elderly mice by up to 80 percent.
      If the findings translate to humans, this restoration of muscle mass could help to combat some of the effects of age-related frailty, which often lead to osteoporosis and other debilitating conditions.
      "We'll have to see if this plays out in people, but you may actually be able to rescue muscle mass in an aging population by this kind of intervention," says Leonard Guarente, the Novartis Professor of Biology at MIT and one of the senior authors of the study. "There's a lot of crosstalk between muscle and bone, so losing muscle mass ultimately can lead to loss of bone, osteoporosis, and frailty, which is a major problem in aging."
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