A novel antibody may treat the decline in muscle mass and power associated with ageing, resulting in improved physical performance, according to a new study.
“Myostatin is a natural protein produced within the body that inhibits muscle growth,” said Stuart Warden, associate professor at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis in US.
“It has been hypothesised for some time that inhibition of myostatin may allow muscle to grow, resulting in improved muscle mass and physical performance. The current study confirms these beliefs,” Warden said.
In the phase 2 trial, injections of a myostatin antibody, over a 24-week period resulted in an increase in lean (muscle) mass and improved performance on tasks requiring muscle power in patients older than 75 with low muscle strength, low muscle performance and a history of falling.
“This is the first study to show that myostatin antibody treatment improves performance on activities requiring muscle power,” Warden said.
“’Muscle power’ refers to the ability to generate muscle force quickly. During ageing, it is lost more rapidly than muscle strength, contributing to disability, falls, reduced quality of life and, in some instances, death,” Warden said.
“Myostatin antibody treatment improved muscle power in the elderly, as indicated by improvements in the ability to climb stairs, walk briskly and rise repetitively from a chair,” Warden said.
“Treatment particularly benefited those who were most frail at baseline, a population who may not be receptive to conventional intervention such as resistance exercise,” he said.