In wonderful news for vain but lazy people everywhere, Australian scientists think they have found one of the molecular keys to muscle growth — a protein that promotes weight and muscle mass gain without any of the pesky exercise once associated with it.
The protein Grb10 – which scientists have dubbed the “Hulk” protein – seems to have a significant role in promoting muscle growth in animal subjects without any change in activity, diet, or adverse health effects. While researchers have been careful to point out that whether the protein will have the same effect in humans is unclear, that frankly reeks of quitter talk. I’m already cancelling my non-existent gym membership and breaking out a pint of ice cream to celebrate mankind’s victory over exercise.
The research, published this week in The FASEB Journal, is in its very earliest stages right now, but experiments in mice have shown encouraging results. Mice in which Grb10 function was normal had normal, functioning muscles, like puny Banner. When Grb10 function was disrupted during prenatal development, though, the resulting mice had significantly more muscle mass than their normal counterparts, without any differences in diet or environment. No word yet on whether they also had rage issues and a penchant for monosyllabic expression, but hey — you take the good with the bad.
Of course, if this protein does actually work, it will be good for a lot more than just letting people look like Lou Ferrigno while they exercise like Dom Deluise. In humans, the protein or one like it could be used to treat patients recovering from injury, as well as those suffering from diseases that cause muscle wasting, like Type 2 diabetes and muscular dystrophy. It could also provide more insight into how muscle fibers grow and develop more generally.