Posted on Jan 13, 2010, 6 a.m.
University of Texas Health Science Center (US) researchers discover that free radicals damage mitochondria in our muscle cells, resulting in sarcopenia, or age-related muscle loss.
While oxidative stress has been implicated in the factors underlying age-related muscle loss (sarcopenia), Holly Van Remmen, from the University of Texas Health Science Center (USA), and colleagues utilized a mouse model that was genetically modified to prevent them from having a protective antioxidant. As a result of the lacking antioxidant, the mice had very high levels of free radicals and lost muscle mass and function at a much faster rate than normal mice. In showing that free radicals damage mitochondria in muscle cells, leading to cell death and muscle atrophy, this research is hoped to lead to new therapies to halt the process of sarcopenia and stave off age-related muscle loss.
Youngmok C. Jang, Michael S. Lustgarten, Yuhong Liu, Florian L. Muller, Arunabh Bhattacharya, Hanyu Liang, Adam B. Salmon, Susan V. Brooks, Lisa Larkin, Christopher R. Hayworth, Arlan Richardson, Holly Van Remmen. “Increased superoxide in vivo accelerates age-associated muscle atrophy through mitochondrial dysfunction and neuromuscular junction degeneration.” FASEB J. Dec 29, 2009; doi:10.1096/fj.09-146308.