Exercise in a pill - A Superdrug?
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Sunday, August 03, 2008

Exercise in a pill - A Superdrug?

by Steve Jones at 7:55 PM EST   comments
Categories: Doping
 
According to professor Ronald M. Evans, PhD, of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute in La Jolla, California, it may be possible to make a pill that reproduces the endurance-boosting effects of exercise, as reported in the journal Cell.

Dr. Ronald EvansAccording to professor Ronald M. Evans, PhD, of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute in La Jolla, California, it may be possible to make a pill that reproduces the endurance-boosting effects of exercise, as reported in the journal Cell.

Evans raised awareness of the compound to the World Anti-Doping Agency back in December of 2005 with his presentation "PPARδ and the Creation of the Marathon Mouse" at the Gene Doping Symposium in Stockholm.

The compound in question, GW1516, boosted endurance in mice that exercised.

Evans began his testing by altering a mouse gene that increases the activity of a protein called PPARδ (PPAR-delta).

His team then attempted to achieve the same result by administering a dose of GW516 to the mice by mouth daily for one month.

In the end, the mice taking GW516 ran 68% longer and 70% farther than their initial baseline if they had been exercising on the mouse wheel daily.  Sedentary mice showed no improvement.

AICAR, however, another compound where Evans' has been focusing his research, boosts AMPK and did not require the mouse to exercise for a marked improvement in endurance. While the gains weren't as high, the AICAR mice were able to run an amazing 23% longer and 44% farther without exercising.

Researchers reported that AMPK and PPARδ "can be targeted by orally active drugs to enhance training or even to increase endurance without exercise."

In a press release by the Salk Institute they reported that "Exercise in a pill" might sound tempting to couch potatoes and Olympic contenders alike, but the dreams of the latter might be cut short. Evans developed a test that can readily detect GW1516 and its metabolites as well as AICAR in blood and urine and is already working with officials at the World Anti-Doping Association, who are racing to have a test in place in time for this year's Summer Olympics.

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