News Release

November 13, 2007

Contact: Christopher DeFrancesco, 860-679-3914

A New Approach to Treating, Reducing Muscle Injury

Army Backs UConn Research That Could Benefit Tomorrow’s Soldiers

FARMINGTON, CONN. – Researchers at the University of Connecticut Health Center believe they have uncovered a path that could lead to reduced vulnerability to skeletal muscle injury.

Bruce T. Liang, M.D., director of the Pat and Jim Calhoun Cardiology Center at the UConn Health Center, led a team of scientists who have identified a specific receptor (adenosine A3) with protective qualities that decrease muscle injury in mice. Their research will be published in the American Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology early next year and is currently available online.

The Department of Defense provided funding for this research, with the objective of determining how to reduce muscle injury in American military personnel.

“Our soldiers suffer a high rate of skeletal muscle injury during rapid-fire physical training as well as during combat in adverse conditions, such as in high heat exposure and high altitude,” Liang says. “Having a way to treat and reduce skeletal muscle injury in soldiers has the potential to be very beneficial.”

The research team included Liang, Jingang Zheng Ph.D., Ruibo Wang, M.D., Ph.D, and Dan Wu, Ph.D., from the UConn Health Center, as well as Edward Zambraski, Ph.D., from the U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine in Natick, Mass., and Kenneth A. Jacobson, Ph.D., from the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md.

“This work describes our novel findings on establishing a mouse model of skeletal muscle injury, and perhaps of equal importance, on a new therapeutic target to treat skeletal muscle injury,” Liang says. “Agents that stimulate adenosine A3 receptors represent an attractive therapeutic target because their use is not associated with any side effects such as changes in heart rate or blood pressure. Our work showed that administration of such agents in intact animals can bring about a significant reduction in the muscle injury without any apparent ill effect. Since there is no clinically effective drug that can reduce skeletal muscle injury, the work opens up a new area that could lead to better treatment for muscle injury.”

The American Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology ( publishes original investigations on the physiology of the heart, blood vessels, and lymphatics, which are vessels that carry tissue fluid. The direct link to the abstract of Liang’s study is The full report is available for download from this page.

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