A milk protein that encourages exercise?

Milk contains a protein that builds muscles in mice. Credit: Vicci Crowley-Clough
Milk contains a protein that builds muscles in mice. Credit: Vicci Crowley-Clough

Victorian scientists have discovered a milk protein with the potential to treat metabolic syndrome and chronic muscular and bone diseases.

The protein, when given daily to mice, caused them not only to build more muscle but also to want to exercise. The findings also showed an increase in muscle in mice not given exercise.

Researchers from MG Nutritionals (a division of Murray Goulburn Co-operative Co. Ltd) and Victoria’s Department of Primary Industries (DPI) discovered the protein which they’ve called Regeneration Inducing Peptide for Tissues and Cells (RIPTAC).

The researchers are joining with Deakin University, Barwon Health, University of South Australia and the Geoffrey Gardiner Dairy Foundation to collaborate to develop and test the product on people before commercialisation.

The proposed product could benefit approximately 4.8 million Australians at risk of age-related deterioration of lean body mass, and those with metabolic syndrome who are at significantly increased risk of developing type-two diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

If successful, the project will be a coup for public health—significantly improving the quality of life of the ageing.

With an estimated burden of over $2.5 billion annually, diseases including osteoporosis, sarcopenia and metabolic syndrome significantly reduce the quality of life of sufferers.

This project is part of the Victorian Government’s $41 million Victoria’s Science Agenda Investment Fund announced in November 2009.

For more information: Victorian Department of Innovation, Industry & Regional Development, Vivien Ellard, Tel: +61 (3) 9651 9259, vivien.ellard@diird.vic.gov.au