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Elevated levels of human hormone motivates mice to exercise

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June 13, 2012

Mice injected with human Epo were motivated to exercise more (Photo: Shutterstock)

Mice injected with human Epo were motivated to exercise more (Photo: Shutterstock)

If listening to Eye of The Tiger at full bore isn’t enough to get you off your backside to blast those glutes and pump those biceps anymore, then drugs might be the answer. A team of Swiss researchers has discovered that raising the levels of the hormone erythropoietin (Epo) in the brains of mice resulted in the rodents being more motivated to exercise. The discovery provides the possibility of developing a pill that can motivate people to want to exercise.

The study, carried out by Max Gassmann, D.V.M. and colleagues from the Institute of Veterinary Physiology, Vetsuisse-Faculty and Zurich Center for Integrative Human Physiology at the University of Zurich in Switzerland, involved three groups of mice. One group received no treatment, the second was injected with human Epo, and the third was genetically modified to produce human Epo in the brain.

The study showed that the second and third groups showed significantly higher running performance compared to the first group that had received no treatment, with both the groups of mice with elevated levels of human Epo in the brain also not experiencing elevated red blood cell counts.

Gassmann theorizes that Epo has a general effect on mood, meaning it might not only be a promising treatment to encourage exercise and therefore weight loss, but might also offer potential benefits in patients suffering from depression, Alzheimer’s and related diseases for which increased physical activity is known to have beneficial effects.

While the effects of the study are yet to be replicated in human subjects, Epo joins a gorwing list of compounds, such as PRDM16 and 2-Arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG), which could form the basis of future drug treatments to fight obesity.

Source: FASEB Journal

About the Author
Darren Quick Darren's love of technology started in primary school with a Nintendo Game & Watch Donkey Kong (still functioning) and a Commodore VIC 20 computer (not still functioning). In high school he upgraded to a 286 PC, and he's been following Moore's law ever since. This love of technology continued through a number of university courses and crappy jobs until 2008, when his interests found a home at Gizmag.   All articles by Darren Quick
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3 Comments

I can't help but wonder if the analysis was thorough. Did they exclude the fact that maybe Epo just encouraged the mice to 'perform'/achieve? Running on the mill could mean a lot of things for the mice, not only the desire to train. IMH(unqualified)O

Kallieharie
14th June, 2012 @ 03:34 am PDT

So if I understand this correctly Epo has "a general effect on mood, meaning it might not only be a promising treatment to encourage exercise and therefore weight loss, but might also offer potential benefits in patients suffering from depression". Further. "Epo joins a growing list of compounds..... which could form the basis of future drug treatments to fight obesity."

Even if Lance Armstrong loses his latest defense against doping he can always fall back on "well I took Epo because I was lacking motivation and was trying to fight obesity."

I like it. Kind of a win/win for him. I sense a new wrist band.

What concerns us as a nation astounds me.

getting2better
14th June, 2012 @ 01:05 pm PDT

So if the human body can already make this why do we need a pill? I bet when you take the pill there will be a long list of side effects-like always!

Carlos Grados
14th June, 2012 @ 04:04 pm PDT
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