Study explains why muscles weaken with age and points to possible therapy
09 August 2011
Researchers at Columbia University Medical Center have discovered the biological mechanism behind age-related loss of muscle strength and identified a drug that may help reverse this process.
Their findings were published in the August 2 online edition of Cell Metabolism.
As we grow older, our skeletal muscles tend to wither and weaken, a phenomenon known as sarcopenia.
Sarcopenia, which begins to appear at around age 40 and accelerates after 75, is a major cause of disability in the elderly.
Exercise can help counter the effects of age-related muscle loss. Otherwise, there are no established treatments.
According to the new study, conducted in mice, sarcopenia occurs when calcium leaks from a group of proteins in muscle cells called the ryanodine receptor channel complex.