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21.10.2009


Nasal decongestant may inhibit myostatin

Ok, ok, maybe it sounds a bit far fetched. On the other hand, maybe it's not. And if that's the case, it may not be all that difficult to develop supplements that reduce the production of myostatin, and enhance muscular growth. If you base your reasoning on a test-tube study published a decade ago by cell biologists at the Gunma University in Japan, these supplements will contain simple adrenalin-like phenylephrine. Or something similar.

Let's refresh our theoretical knowledge. Muscle cells produce a protein that inhibits muscle growth: myostatin. Deactivate that protein and your muscles grow to phenomenal proportions. Researchers stumbled across the effect when studying massively muscled cattle like the Belgian Blue, a cattle breed with a defective gene for myostatin. A Belgian Blue is shown in the picture below. Sometimes the defect slips into dog breeds, resulting in canine 'hulks'.


Nasal decongestant may inhibit myostatin


Destroying the myostatin gene is not the only way to deactivate myostatin. You can also get muscles to produce the protein follistatin through gene doping. Follistatin sabotages myostatin. [There are more ways to inactivate myostatin as well, but that's another story.] The pituitary gland in the brain, mmune cells and blood vessel walls also produce follistatin naturally.

Phenylephrine

Phenylephrine

Adrenalin

Adrenaline

Ephedrine

Ephedrine

Synephrine

Synephrine

In the 1990s Japanese scientists did research on whether follistatin can repair damaged livers. In 1998 they published the results of a study of rat liver cells in Biochimica et Biphysica Acta, in which they concluded that follistatin may indeed be able to repair livers. In the study they tried to increase the production of follistatin in liver cells through a number of interventions.

One of these was the administration of phenylephrine, a simple stimulant, often an ingredient in soothing cold medicines and nasal decongestants. Phenylephrine resembles adrenalin and ephedrine. The structural formulas of phenylephrine and a couple of similar compounds are shown here.

The Japanese do not provide exact data on the effect of phenylephrine. They do say though that the effect is strikingly similar to that of glucagon, the hormone that has almost the opposite effect to that of insulin. And the researchers do provide exact data on the effect of glucagon.


Nasal decongestant may inhibit myostatin


Figure A [above] shows the effect of glucagon on the RNA. The bigger the blot, the more messages the DNA passes on to the cell instructing it to make follistatin. The time on the bottom axis is measured in hours.

The graph underneath [B] shows how much follistatin the cells emit. The effect of phenylephrine on the amount of follistatin emitted becomes significant after five hours of exposure, according to the researchers.

Now there are an awful lot of adrenalin-like compounds. Some are stimulants and it's better not to use too high doses. But there is also a set the vegetable acids of which you can use a couple of grams a day without problems. And, who knows, maybe there's also a set that can boost the production of follistatin.

Hmmm. There are even more nutrients that inhibit myostatin. Now, if we just...

More another time.

Source:
Biochim Biophys Acta. 1997 Nov 20;1354(3):204-10.

More:
Double muscles for life with just one injection of follistatin gene 03.03.2009
Myostatin blockers destroy tendons 06.10.2008