3. To increase muscle strength and endurance
|Aim||In addition to physiotherapy, this approach envisages drugs that may improve the performance of weak SMA muscles. Alternatively, research is conducted to potentially identify new therapeutic targets to prevent or slow down the muscle wasting process.|
|Background||Whilst it is clear that lower motor neurons are important disease targets in SMA, the role that muscle plays in the onset and progression of the disease remains controversial. Several lines of research support the idea that muscle is partially responsible for the disease and not only a victim of denervation (loss of nerve supply).
Although restoring SMN levels only in muscle may not be not sufficient to ameliorate the disease, this does not rule out a role for muscle in SMA. The ability to reverse muscle atrophy has therefore been highlighted as a potential therapeutic target in SMA. Follistatin for example is being studied for its role in regulation of muscle growth and has shown an increase in muscle mass and strength. Follistatin is the antagonist of myostatin that decreases muscle growth in muscle cells. Interestingly, physical exercise decreases the levels of myostatin and increases levels of follistatin in humans and rodents. We need to investigate further whether moderate physical exercise may be a good treatment option
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