Kudos to Dr. Zhen Yan- Weightlifting Mice Could Possibly Lead Us to An Exercise Pill

May 22, 2020 by adw2n@virginia.edu

Pharmacology is sending kudos to Zhen Yan, PhD (Professor of Medicine, Cardiovascular Medicine and joint appointee in Pharmacology) for making headlines again for his recent work as an exercise researcher at the University of Virginia School of Medicine. Could his research be leading us to an exercise pill? Well, Dr. Yan has developed an innovative mouse model of exercise that will let scientists better understand how resistance training affects the muscles and the metabolic processes in the body. By understanding these metabolic changes, doctors may one day be able to duplicate these benefits through medication for people who can’t exercise.

Dr. Yan has described the new model in an article, “A novel voluntary weightlifting model in mice promotes muscle adaptation and insulin sensitivity with simultaneous enhancement of autophagy and mTOR pathway,” published in the FASEB Journal. The research team consisted of Di Cui, Joshua C. Drake, Rebecca J. Wilson, Robert J. Shute, Bevan Lewellen, Mei Zhang, Henan Zhao, Olivia L. Sabik, Suna Onengut, Stuart S. Berr, Stephen S. Rich, Charles R. Farber and Yan.

“It is every exercise scientist’s dream to use an animal model to dig deep into the underlying mechanisms of exercise. This novel mouse model made it a reality to study resistance exercise, a type exercise that is equally if not more important than aerobic exercise to all of us, in an unprecedented manner,” said Yan, director of the Center for Skeletal Muscle Research at UVA’s Robert M. Berne Cardiovascular Research Center. “This will for sure accelerate research, and the findings will foster development of new therapeutics for many health problems.”

Way to go, Dr. Yan!

Please visit UVAToday to see what Dr. Yan has to say about exercise and how it may provide some protection against COVID-19.

You can keep up with the latest work of Dr. Yan and other medical research news at UVA, by visiting the Making of Medicine blog at http://makingofmedicine.virginia.edu.