Muscle aging: Stronger for longer

September 09, 2020

With life expectancy increasing, age-related diseases are also on the rise, including sarcopenia, the loss of muscle mass due to aging. Researchers from the University of Basel's Biozentrum have demonstrated that a well-known drug can delay the progression of age-related muscle weakness.

Already in our best years, our muscles begin to shrink and their strength dwindles. Unfortunately, this is a natural part of aging. For some people, the decline in muscle mass and function is excessive. This condition, called sarcopenia, affects every second or third person over 80, reducing mobility, autonomy and quality of life.

The causes of sarcopenia are diverse, ranging from altered muscle metabolism to changes in the nerves supplying muscles. Researchers led by Professor Markus Rüegg have now discovered that mTORC1 also contributes to sarcopenia and its suppression with the well-known drug rapamycin slows age-related muscle wasting.

Rapamycin preserves muscle function

"Contrary to our expectations, the long-term mTORC1 suppression with rapamycin is overwhelmingly beneficial for skeletal muscle aging in mice, preserving muscle size and strength," says Daniel Ham, first author of the study. "Neuromuscular junctions, the sites where neurons contact muscle fibers to control their contraction, deteriorate during aging. Stable neuromuscular junctions are paramount to maintaining healthy muscles during aging and rapamycin effectively stabilizes them." The researchers also demonstrate that permanently activating mTORC1 in skeletal muscle accelerates muscle aging.

Molecular signature of sarcopenia

In collaboration with Professor Mihaela Zavolan's team, the scientists identified a molecular ?signature? of sarcopenia, with mTORC1 as the key player. To help the scientific community further investigate how gene expression in skeletal muscle changes during aging or in response to rapamycin treatment, they developed the user-friendly web application, SarcoAtlas, which is supported by sciCORE, the Center for Scientific Computing at the University of Basel.

There is currently no effective pharmacological therapy to treat sarcopenia. This study provides hope that it may be possible to slow down age-related muscle wasting with treatments that suppress mTORC1 and thereby extend the autonomy and life quality of elderly people.
-end-


University of Basel

Related Aging Articles from Brightsurf:

Surprises in 'active' aging
Aging is a process that affects not only living beings.

Aging-US: 'From Causes of Aging to Death from COVID-19' by Mikhail V. Blagosklonny
Aging-US recently published ''From Causes of Aging to Death from COVID-19'' by Blagosklonny et al. which reported that COVID-19 is not deadly early in life, but mortality increases exponentially with age - which is the strongest predictor of mortality.

Understanding the effect of aging on the genome
EPFL scientists have measured the molecular footprint that aging leaves on various mouse and human tissues.

Muscle aging: Stronger for longer
With life expectancy increasing, age-related diseases are also on the rise, including sarcopenia, the loss of muscle mass due to aging.

Aging memories may not be 'worse, 'just 'different'
A study from the Department of Psychological & Brain Sciences in Arts & Sciences adds nuance to the idea that an aging memory is a poor one and finds a potential correlation between the way people process the boundaries of events and episodic memory.

A new biomarker for the aging brain
Researchers at the RIKEN Center for Biosystems Dynamics Research (BDR) in Japan have identified changes in the aging brain related to blood circulation.

Scientists invented an aging vaccine
A new way to prevent autoimmune diseases associated with aging like atherosclerosis, Alzheimer's disease, and Parkinson's disease was described in the article.

The first roadmap for ovarian aging
Infertility likely stems from age-related decline of the ovaries, but the molecular mechanisms that lead to this decline have been unclear.

Researchers discover new cause of cell aging
New research from the USC Viterbi School of Engineering could be key to our understanding of how the aging process works.

Deep Aging Clocks: The emergence of AI-based biomarkers of aging and longevity
The advent of deep biomarkers of aging, longevity and mortality presents a range of non-obvious applications.

Read More: Aging News and Aging Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.