Gene Therapy in Mice Builds Muscle, Staves off Obesity, and Reduces Osteoarthritis Pain

May 20, 2020 | Biotechnology

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Lab.Equipment has found a new article from the Biotechnology industry for you. This one is published by Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology News (GEN):

Researchers at Washington University and Shriners Hospitals for Children have developed a gene therapy that in initial in vivo tests reduced the severity of osteoarthritis (OA) in mice, helped treated animals to build significant muscle mass, and also prevented them from putting on weight, even when fed a high-fat diet (HFD). Animals given the adeno-associated virus (AAV)-based vector encoding the gene for follistatin were also less sensitive to osteoarthritis-related pain, and demonstrated cardiovascular benefits. The team suggested that their gene therapy approach may lead to the development of new treatment strategies for OA, but also potentially for obesity and associated metabolic conditions, and muscle-wasting disorders.

“Obesity is the most common risk factor for osteoarthritis,” said senior investigator Farshid Guilak, PhD, the Mildred B. Simon research professor of orthopedic surgery and director of research at Shriners Hospitals for Children, St. Louis. “Being overweight can hinder a person’s ability to exercise and benefit fully from physical therapy. We’ve identified here a way to use gene therapy to build muscle quickly. It had a profound effect in the mice and kept their weight in check, suggesting a similar approach may be effective against arthritis, particularly in cases of morbid obesity.”

The researchers reported on their studies in Science Advances, in a paper titled, “Gene therapy for follistatin mitigates systemic metabolic inflammation and post-traumatic arthritis in high-fat diet-induced obesity.”

Osteoarthritis is characterized by cartilage degeneration, joint inflammation, and bone remodeling, the authors explained. There are currently no disease-modifying treatments available for the disorder, but obesity is a known key risk factor. “Previous studies demonstrate that obesity and dietary fatty acids (FAs) play a... You can find the full article in the GEN – Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology News Blog.

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