Skeletal muscle size and function are progressively lost with age, a process that has been termed sarcopenia. The mechanisms underlying these changes, however, have not been clearly defined. Work from our laboratory has sought to determine the effects of aging on skeletal muscle protein metabolism, with a specific focus on myosin protein expression (Toth et al. 2005, 2006). These results confirmed earlier studies that had shown diminished skeletal muscle protein synthesis with age and advanced this work to suggest that diminished rates of protein turnover may be related to elevated inflammatory tone (Toth et al. 2005). Studies in animal models have buttressed this notion by showing that medications which diminish chronic inflammation may counteract sarcopenia (Rieu et al. 2009). We continue to evaluate the effects of aging on skeletal muscle through our studies on muscle disuse (see above) and in on-going studies with our collaborators. We are currently collaborating with Dr. Mark S. Miller in the Department of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics to assist with studies evaluating the effects of aging on skeletal muscle size, structure and function in humans.
Last modified November 03 2010 07:15 PM