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Keywords:

  • Aging;
  • DIGE;
  • Frailty;
  • Sarcopenia of old age;
  • Skeletal muscle proteomics

Abstract

Extended human longevity has resulted in increasing numbers of elderly persons in the general population. However, old age is also associated with a variety of serious physical disorders. Frailty among sedentary elderly patients is related to the impaired structure and function of contractile fibers. Biochemical research into cellular mechanisms that underlie sarcopenia promises to acquire the scientific basis of evidence to aid the development of new diagnostic and therapeutic strategies. The recent application of MS-based proteomic methodology has identified a large cohort of disease-specific markers of sarcopenia. This review critically examines the biomedical implications of the results obtained from the proteomic screening of both aged human muscle and established animal models of sarcopenia. Substantial alterations in proteins involved in key metabolic pathways, regulatory and contractile elements of the actomyosin apparatus, myofibrillar remodeling and the cellular stress response are discussed. A multi-factorial etiology appears to be the basis for a slower-twitching aged fiber population, which exhibits a shift to more aerobic-oxidative metabolism. It is hoped that the detailed biomedical characterization of the newly identified biomarkers of sarcopenia will translate into better treatment options for reversing age-dependent muscle degeneration, which could improve the standard of living for a large portion of society.