|Holly Van Remmen, Ph.D., and Yiqiang Zhang, Ph.D., are authors of the study about muscle cells in mice, published in The FASEB Journal. |
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SAN ANTONIO (Aug. 15, 2013) — Researchers at the Barshop Institute for Longevity and Aging Studies have discovered a curious thing in mice that may shed light on sarcopenia ― the age-related loss of muscle mass and strength.
In trying to better understand how oxidative stress affects the aging of muscle cells in mice, scientists have identified a protein (SOD1) that could be the trigger for causing sarcopenia. Capitalizing on this, the Barshop Institute researchers developed mice that have SOD1 in other types of cells but not the muscles. Then they asked the question: Is lack of SOD1 in muscles enough to cause atrophy?
The surprising result is that although the study mice had weaker muscles, those muscles were actually larger than normal muscles. Adapting to survive
In discussing the finding, researcher Holly Van Remmen, Ph.D.
, said, “We think that lack of SOD1 could be priming the muscle to use all of its survival skills. The muscle knows things aren’t quite right. Its rescue mechanisms are pulled into play.” Dr. Van Remmen is a professor of cellular and structural biology in the School of Medicine at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio and associate director for basic research at the Barshop Institute.Working around oxidative stress
Sarcopenia in humans has two components: loss of muscle mass and loss of function (weakness). This study supports the idea that oxidative stress has a role in these detrimental effects. If a way can be found to curb the effects, then healthier, more productive aging could result, Dr. Van Remmen said.
The oxidative stress theory of aging holds that oxidation from molecules called “free radicals” causes damage to cells over time, resulting in sarcopenia and other decline.
is described in The FASEB Journal
. Future research will assess whether limiting oxidative stress can effect muscle regeneration, Dr. Van Remmen said.# # #The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio
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