Muscle Growth and Regeneration
Normal skeletal muscle has a remarkable ability to regenerate. However, in many diseases, skeletal muscle does not recover from injury but is gradually replaced with fat and fibrotic tissue. A longstanding goal of our lab is to determine how to best influence diseased muscle to successfully regenerate. Through cell culture and animal models, we study major myokines (IGF-1, myostatin) and their downstream effectors to determine how the various factors interact to control muscle growth and function.
There are few treatments for muscle disorders and no approved therapies to aid muscle regeneration. To address this need, we use disease models for preclinical studies with adenoassociated viral vectors, stem cell therapies, and novel pharmacological agents. Much of this work is funded by a Senator Paul D. Wellstone Muscular Dystrophy Cooperative Research Center with which we collaborate.
There are dozens of progressive genetic disorders of muscle, known as muscular dystrophies. Although the causative mutations for most of these diseases are now known, their pathophysiology remains unclear. We study various existing disease models of muscular dystrophy, and develop novel animal models for conditions not widely studied.