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Research Aims to Improve Recovery Following an ACL Injury

acl injury_studyResearchers from the University of Michigan Health System have identified a new drug target that may prevent muscle atrophy, which can be a consequence of an ACL tear and may lead to the development of osteoarthritis. According to the study published in American Journal of Sports Medicine, the hormone myostatin can block muscle growth that seems to play a significant role in causing muscle damage after an ACL tear. The findings may lead to potential treatment for preventing muscle loss after this injury.

The study indicates that myostatin has shown promise as a possible drug target for the treatment of other conditions, such as muscular dystrophy, and blocking the protein has led to increased muscle mass and strength. Senior author of the study Asheesh Bedi, MD, says the study is the first to look into the biology of muscle tissue involved in an ACL tear and to show how the hormone affects the muscle damage following ACL surgery.

Bedi does note, however, “We need further studies to examine how these findings may aid in better recoveries following a common and often detrimental type of knee injury for athletes.”

Lead author of the study and athletic trainer Christopher L. Mendias, PhD, ATC, explains, “This is the first study in humans to open the door to a potential therapy to prevent muscle atrophy. We see this as an important step in restoring athletic and functional abilities in the short term, and in preventing osteoarthritis in the long term.”

[Source: American Journal of Sports Medicine]