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New Targeted Muscle Injection Discovery Could Help the Obese Lose Weight

Tim Boyer's picture
Muscle Injection and Weight Loss

Do you find that no matter how hard you work your muscles during exercise that you just don’t seem to burn off as many calories as you should? This could be due to the natural tendency of the body to attempt to conserve energy. However, recent research shows that a new targeted muscle injection discovery may override this tendency in muscle and help the obese lose weight.


According to a new study published in the journal Molecular Therapy, weight loss could be aided by simple injections into particular muscles just before exercising. This claim is supported by the findings of a team of researchers at the University of Iowa who found that by injecting the leg muscle of mice with a special chemical compound, that they could turn off the muscle’s natural “energy saving” mode and switch it into an energy burning mode that causes the injected muscle to burn more energy during low to moderate exercise.

Interest in using injection therapy for weight loss is a growing pursuit of research activity among weight loss experts. One example is the recent finding that injections of a drug called “AXT-101” that reputedly breaks down fat deposits in the neck resulting in losing your double chin. In fact, the FDA is expected to review the drug application for AXT-101 on March 9, 2015 and is expected to reach a decision by May of 2015 on whether the drug should be approved for use by patients.

In the Iowa research study, researchers found that injecting a compound called “vivo-morpholino” into the leg muscle of mice appears to suppress a protein called ATP-sensitive potassium (KATP) channel, which is responsible for modulating the energy efficiency in muscles. In other words, the authors explain that vivo-morpholino suppresses the production of KATP which in turn causes a substantial increase in activity-related energy consumption—i.e. increased calorie burning in the injected muscle.

The effectiveness of this was illustrated in the paper with an infrared image that reportedly shows increased calorie burning at the injection site. The authors point out that their results also show that their targeted approach works only at the affected site and not in surrounding muscle or organ; and, that it does not cause loss of motor function in the injected muscle.

According to a report by the Indo-Asian News Service about the study, the researchers were quoted as stating that:

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“By making skeletal muscles less energy efficient, they burn more calories, even while doing normal daily activities,” said Leonid Zingman from the University of Iowa and co-author.

“With this intervention, the benefits of exercise in burning calories could be accessible to a broader range of people by making the calorie burning effects of skeletal muscle greater even at low levels of activity that most people would be able to undertake,” Zingman said.

The authors also point out that the injections are expected not to be a replacement of diet and exercising for controlling weight, but could be used as an adjunct that could significantly aid such weight loss efforts.

“While such an approach would not replace the need for a healthy diet or exercise, it could jump start the process of weight loss by overcoming the initial hurdles imposed by our energy-efficient physiology,” states Denice Hodgson-Zingman, a co-author of the study.

For an informative article about why restricting calories and exercising may not be enough to result in weight loss, here is what health experts have to say about a new way to tackle obesity beyond diet and exercise.

Reference: “Disruption of KATP channel expression in skeletal muscle by targeted oligonucleotide delivery promotes activity-linked thermogenesis” Molecular Therapy (4 February 2015); Siva Rama Krishna Koganti et al.