Muscle fitness drives super athleticism, especially when their cells efficiently utilise sugar as a fuel source, a study reveals.
Conversely, exercising improves the muscle’s ability to take up sugar from the bloodstream and burn it for energy.
On the flip side, conditions that reduce physical activity, such as obesity or chronic disease, reduce the muscle’s capacity to burn sugar.
A new study from Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute (Sanford-Burnham) unravels a mechanism that re-programmes metabolic genes in muscles to boost their capacity to use sugar, the journal Genes & Development reported.
When activated in mice, this metabolic re-programming dramatically improves exercise performance, according to a university statement.
“Essentially, these transgenic mice are capable of storing and burning sugars at rates usually only seen in the trained athlete,” said researcher Daniel P. Kelly.
Kelly’s mice are special because they’re engineered to produce the protein PPARß/d in their muscle tissue. Previous studies have shown that mice with high PPARß/d levels in their muscles have increased exercise capacity.
Kelly and his team discovered why that is — the muscles of PPARß/d mice are better than normal mice at taking up sugar from the bloodstream, storing it and burning it for energy.