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New research shows Wnt7a protein stimulates muscle growth and development in two unique ways

December 18, 2011

Dr. Michael Rudnicki and his team have discovered that a protein called Wnt7a promotes the growth of muscle tissue in two distinct ways: by stimulating muscle stem cells to produce new muscle fibres, and by stimulating those muscle fibres to get bigger and more powerful. Dr. Rudnicki and his team described this first molecular pathway several years ago, and the second just this week in Nature Cell Biology. The finding represents the first example of a receptor being “wired” to different pathways at different levels of tissue development for a common purpose. This research could lead to the development of novel treatments for patients with muscle degeneration.

This research was supported by the Muscular Dystrophy Association, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the National Institutes of Health, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Canada Research Chair Program and the Swiss National Science Foundation. All research at OHRI is also supported by The Ottawa Hospital Foundation.