SR9009 is one of a pair of compounds developed at TSRI by Burris and his team. The drug binds to Rev-erbα, a natural protein in the body that influences lipid and glucose metabolism in the liver, inflammatory responses, and fat-storing cells. By binding to Rev-erbα, SR9009 can kickstart metabolism with another pleasant side-effect: increased muscle strength. “It ‘transforms’ muscle into muscle that by many attributes appears to be exercising,” Burris explains.
In the new study, a team led by scientists at the Institut Pasteur de Lille in France demonstrated that mice lacking Rev-erbα had decreased skeletal muscle metabolic activity and running capacity. Burris’ group showed that activation of Rev-erbα with SR9009 led to increased metabolic activity in skeletal muscle in both culture and in mice. The treated mice had a 50 percent increase in running capacity, measured by both time and distance.