Compounds that would stop faltering of unused muscles could be beneficial for elderly people, bedridden patients, or astronauts during long-term space missions.
One of the muscles that falters the most for example in the state of weightlessness is the soleus muscle (Musculus soleus). It belongs to the so-called antigravity muscles that stabilise our body in the erect position.
Muscle atrophy is however influenced by tens of genes, so it will be difficult to develop efficient drugs affecting their functions. The first step is understanding of mechanisms that regulate the muscle development. Therefore, we study the combination of genetic predispositions and exogenous factors and its effect on the production of specific muscle proteins that determine the types of muscle fibres.
For the study of cardiac and skeletal muscles, histochemical and immunocytochemical staining of tissue sections is used. On the picture, skeletal muscle sections stained for specific muscle proteins enable us to analyse different muscle fibre types.