Skeletal muscle aging is associated with a loss in tissue mass and contractile strength, as well as fiber type shifting and bioenergetic adaptation processes. Since mitochondria represent the primary site for energy generation via oxidative phosphorylation, we investigated potential changes in the expression pattern of the mitochondrial proteome using the highly sensitive DIGE approach. The comparative analysis of the mitochondria-enriched fraction from young adult versus aged muscle revealed an age-related change in abundance for 39 protein species. MS technology identified the majority of altered proteins as constituents of muscle mitochondria. An age-dependent increase was observed for NADH dehydrogenase, the mitochondrial inner membrane protein mitofilin, peroxiredoxin isoform PRX-III, ATPase synthase, succinate dehydrogenase, mitochondrial fission protein Fis1, succinate-coenzyme A ligase, acyl-coenzyme A dehydrogenase, porin isoform VDAC2, ubiquinol-cytochrome c reductase core I protein and prohibitin. Immunoblotting, enzyme testing and confocal microscopy were used to validate proteomic findings. The DIGE-identified increase in key mitochondrial elements during aging agrees with the concept that sarcopenia is associated with a shift to a slower contractile phenotype and more pronounced aerobic-oxidative metabolism. This suggests that mitochondrial markers are reliable candidates that should be included in the future establishment of a biomarker signature of skeletal muscle aging.
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