As an avid weight-lifter I have always been fascinated by the ability of our muscle cells to adapt and respond to various stimuli. As a scientist, it also sparks curiosity because it is also something that can be directly observed without a microscope. We see an increase in muscle size (hypertrophy), muscle definition, and muscle response as direct results of the exercise we do.
However, there are definitely many factors and processes controlling these responses going on underneath the surface that we cannot directly observe. These can be difficult to study and observe in vivo and I began to wonder if the effects of exercise could be studied in vitro. It’s a question I had not asked myself before and again, as a scientist, that made me even more curious and I began my search for answers.
That’s when I came across the paper that I present you with today. The authors developed a unique approach to study actual muscle contractility by using EPS (electric pulse stimulation). That itself is not new as it has been previously used to study contractility in cultured myotubes but with mixed results. These authors have now applied it to contractile human and mouse hybrid myotubes and the results are very encouraging.
As research in this field continues, hopefully in vitro models can be used to more effectively study muscle cell responses to stimuli and the multi-faceted array of cell signaling events that occur.
Written by Sean
Scientific Support Specialist, Lonza Pharma-Bioscience Solutions at Lonza