MDA has awarded a research grant totaling $375,000 over three years to Young-Jin Son, associate professor of developmental neurobiology at Temple University in Philadelphia. The new funds will help support Son’s study of nerve and muscle interaction in muscle diseases such as Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD).
Stable maintenance of muscle size and also the connections between nerves and muscles are critical for normal neuromuscular function in adulthood, Son said, noting disruption of the balance plays a central role in the initiation and progression of numerous neuromuscular disorders.
Son and colleagues plan to study whether cellular structures called "muscarinic acetylcholine receptors" (mAChRs) comprise a novel receptor system that is used by nerve cells and muscles to monitor nervous system activity, and to maintain stable nerve-muscle connections and solid muscle mass.
The investigators also will explore the possibility that muscle atrophy can be prevented via treatments that directly target muscarinic receptors. Our studies will provide insights that may prevent synaptic loss and muscle atrophy, and has the potential to develop new strategies for treating a broad range of neuromuscular disorders.
Results from Son’s work may provide leads on the development of new strategies for treating a broad range of neuromuscular disorders.
Funding for this MDA grant began February 1, 2011.