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Many years of our knowledge regarding adverse effects of pollution on health, now seems to get aggrandized. According to a recent research, about 3 percent of the air we inhale is metamorphosed into harmful super-oxides. These harmful oxides are believed to badly influence our muscles and prove to be hazardous for our health.

Researchers shed more light on the findings and explain that these superoxides ultimately lead to the formation of a toxic molecule known as reactive oxygen species or ROS. Excogitating such a toxic molecule’s effects, researchers establish a fact that superoxides particularly harm muscle tissue which may lead to difficulties ranging from aging and frailty to Parkinson’s disease and cancer.

Atanu Duttaroy, associate professor of biology at Howard University in Washington, D.C. and one of the researchers involved in the work, stated “At a minimum, we hope this research leads to new ways of addressing inevitable declining physical performance and other age-dependent infirmities among the elderly.”

In order to establish their research, Duttaroy and colleagues developed on their earlier research exhibiting that ROS-induced cellular damage tends to take place in the same way in fruit flies and in mice. These investigators commenced with fruit flies lacking mitochondrial superoxide dismutase enzyme (SOD), which provides the primary line of defense against ROS by capturing the superoxides and transmogrifying them to water. It was observed that the deficiency of SOD resulted in fruit flies to die within a day after hatching.

“It’s long been known that the oxygen we breath can be toxic, and this work provides a concrete example of that with real consequences.” explained Mark Johnston, Editor-in-Chief of the journal Genetics. “As baby boomers get older, the need to help older people stay mobile and fit has never been greater in our lifetimes. This study helps address this need by providing insight into what causes physical decline, and in turn, bringing us a step closer toward finding ways to stop or reverse it.”

Further, the examiners turned on the production of SOD separately in nerves and muscles via genetic manipulation. The result was that the SOD in nerves did not appear to create an important difference in prolonging the fruit flies’ lives, but it appeared to make a difference when it was activated in their muscles. According to the research, the survival of fruit flies with SOD turned on in their muscles amplified, and for several days, they continued to live as active as their normal counterparts. In fact, measurement of their muscle activity also revealed that SOD assisted the muscle function in a normal manner, thereby helping survival.

The new research is published in the September 2009 issue of the journal Genetics.