Researchers at Aberdeen University have made a breakthrough that could one day be used to treat motor neurone disease.
This is the same disease that claimed the life of Scottish football legend Jimmy "Jinky" Johnstone. The researchers have found a protein called TGFb2, which they believe plays a leading role in transmitting a signal used by motor nerves to activate muscles.
"We have discovered that the protein boosts electrical signalling in our muscles, making the nerve-muscle communication secure and big enough to allow our muscles to contract," said Guy Bewick, senior lecturer at the university's Institute of Medical Sciences.
He added that their finding gives a better understanding of how nerve endings maintain the correct signalling strength for new activities, like running or weight training.