Professor of Physical Therapy Moh Malek awarded grant to explore mitochondrial transplantation therapy
Eugene Applebaum College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences Professor of Physical Therapy Moh H. Malek was notified by the Board of Directors of the DMC (Detroit Medical Center) Foundation that his grant application “Mitochondrial transplantation therapy and the impact on skeletal muscle aging” was funded.
The overall research focus of Malek’s laboratory is to examine skeletal muscle fatigue. His first line of research focuses on examining energy production of the muscle using rodent models, whereas his second line of research focuses on motor unit recruitment/activation of the muscle during exercise in human models. “These research lines allow us to understand muscle function from two unique perspectives along the physiological continuum," Malek said.
As initially published by Harman in the 1950s, mitochondria – "the powerhouse of cells" – have been proposed as our inner clocks, with cellular-mediated damage causing progressive loss of mitochondrial function. Not surprisingly, aging-related decay of skeletal muscle mitochondrial function has been implicated in sarcopenia. Thus, the DMC Foundation grant will focus on using a novel procedure originally developed by Malek’s colleague Dr. James McCully at Harvard University. By isolating the mitochondria from a donor rodent, Malek will then intramuscularly inject these cells into the hindlimb of aged rodents (approx. 70-year-old equivalent to humans). Malek said, “Mitochondrial transplantation could be the master key for slowing or reversing skeletal muscle aging above and beyond conventional approaches.”
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