Being Adept

Myostatin Inhibitors: The Next PED on the Horizon?

Belgian Blue bulls look like they are made of muscle because they have a mutation in the gene that codes for the protein myostatin. In humans, as in other types of cattle, myostatin normally limits the number of muscle fibers that form before birth, and then limits the growth of those fibers later on.

As the recent Biogenesis suspensions demonstrate, professional athletes are willing to go to absurd lengths in order to improve their performance on the field. And while sports governing bodies have managed to implement testing for EPO and hGH, there are always new drugs being produced.

Jon Hamilton, of NPR, reports that the next PED may already be on the horizon, and come in the form of myostatin inhibitors. Myostatin is a naturally secreted protein that inhibits muscle growth, in order to prevent muscles from becoming too large. Recently, scientists have created drugs that can block the process, leading to engorged muscles. The effects can clearly be seen in the two mice below.

There is a clear distinction between the normal mouse (left), and the mouse treated with myotasin inhibitors (right)

Hamilton notes that while performance enhancing drugs used to be created by “rogue chemists”, now days, they are simply a byproduct of the pharmaceutical business. EPO was originally created to treat anemia, but has become the world’s most popular biotech drug because of its enhancing properties.

Some worry that new Myostatin inhibiting drugs, which are incredibly valuable to the small portion of the population that suffers from muscular dystrophy, might prove irresistible to cheating athletes.

Being Adept, a Bay Area drug and alcohol curriculum, encourages parents and teens to understand the consequences of the substances that we put in our bodies. Being Adept seeks to inform teens so that they can make healthy decisions.

 

Source: Hamilton, Jon. “New Muscle Drugs Could Be the Next Big Thing in Sports Doping”. NPR. August 12, 2013. <http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2013/08/12/210487410/new-muscle-drugs-could-be-the-next-big-thing-in-sports-doping>.

 

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