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    Deer Antler May Upregulate Genes to Combat Fatigue

    iStock-1284370009A recent study found that deer antler’s potential use in helping with fatigue in mice may be caused by alterations in the expression of genes related to skeletal muscle strength.

    Deer antler is well-known in traditional Chinese medicine for its use in combating fatigue and supporting physical strength as well as overall health. Yet most deer antler studies have focused on the sika deer antler. Just a few have investigated sambar deer antler activities.

    Scientists have shown that the protein extract from sika deer antler base might increase mice swimming time. It is thought that the mechanism behind this benefit might be the activation of lactate dehydrogenase activities, which reduce blood lactic acid levels and serum urea nitrogen. However, the anti-fatigue pathways of deer antler remain unclear.

    This recent study examined the anti-fatigue effects of Formosan sambar deer tip antler extract (FSDTAE) during a forced-swimming test and evaluated the mechanisms by microarray.

    The results showed that mice administered FSDTAE for 28 days had longer exhaustion times. However, the indicators of fatigue - a reduction in glucose levels and an increase in blood urea nitrogen and lactic acid levels - were not significantly inhibited by FSDTAE. A further microarray analysis showed that the genes in 9 different signaling pathways were affected, with the most enriched category being the muscular system. The most upregulated genes were responsible for the development and contraction of muscle.

    The scientists concluded that the mechanism behind the anti-fatigue and muscle strength enhancement effects in mice could be the upregulation of the genes responsible for muscle contraction.

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