Sarcopenia is more than a muscular deficit.

S. Fulle, S. Belia, G. Di Tano


Sarcopenia is a complex process that appears in aged muscle associated with a decrease in mass, strength, and velocity of contraction. This process is the result of many molecular, cellular and functional alterations. It has been suggested that sarcopenia may be triggered by reactive oxygen species (ROS) that have accumulated throughout one's lifetime. We found a significant increase in oxidation of DNA and lipids in the elderly muscle, more evident in males, and a reduction in catalase and glutathione transferase activities. Experiments on Ca2+ transport showed an abnormal functional response of aged muscle after exposure to caffeine, which increases the opening of Ca2+ channels, as well a reduced activity of the Ca2+ pump in elderly males. From these results we concluded that oxidative stress play an important role in muscle aging and that oxidative damage is much more evident in elderly males, suggesting a gender difference may be related to hormonal factors. The progression of sarcopenia is directly related to a significant reduction of the regenerative potential of muscle normally due to a type of adult stem cells, known as satellite cells, which lie outside the sarcolemma and remain quiescent until external stimuli trigger as growth factors (IGF-1 or mIGF-1) their re-entry into the cell cycle. One possibility is that the anti oxidative capacity of satellite cells could also be altered and this, in turn, determines the decrease of their regenerative capacity. Data concerning this hypothesis are discussed

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