For Our World
For Popeye, spinach was the key to extra muscle. For the mice in a new University of Iowa study, it was apples, or more precisely a waxy substance called ursolic acid that’s found in apple peel.
The UI study, led by Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine endocrinologist Christopher Adams, M.D., Ph.D., showed that ursolic acid reduced muscle atrophy and promoted muscle growth in mice. It also reduced fat, blood- sugar levels, cholesterol, and triglycerides in the animals, suggesting that the compound may be useful for treating metabolic disorders such as diabetes—good news for the UI’s Fraternal Order of Eagles Diabetes Research Center, which helped fund the study.
Among the members of the study’s interdisciplinary research team was Michael Welsh, M.D., founding director of the Pappajohn Institute in the John and Mary Pappajohn Biomedical Discovery Building, which will house the Eagles Diabetes Center and numerous other UI initiatives aimed at unraveling the fundamental biological mysteries of some of the world’s most devastating diseases.
By providing a home for scientists from multiple disciplines, the Pappajohn Institute will foster communication, collaboration, and the creative energy essential for success in the UI’s efforts to create a healthier future.