• Open Access

Muscle precursor cells isolated from aged rats exhibit an increased tumor necrosis factor-α response


Simon J. Lees, PhD, Department of Health and Exercise Science, College of Applied Human Sciences, Colorado State University, 215F Moby B Complex, Fort Collins, CO 80523-1582, USA. Tel.: 970-491-3526; fax: 970-491-0445; e-mail: sjlees@cahs.colostate.edu
Current address of Simon J. Lees is Department of Health and Exercise Science; Colorado State University; 215F Moby B Complex; Fort Collins, CO, 80523-1582


Improving muscle precursor cell (MPC, muscle-specific stem cells) function during aging has been implicated as a key therapeutic target for improving age-related skeletal muscle loss. MPC dysfunction during aging can be attributed to both the aging MPC population and the changing environment in skeletal muscle. Previous reports have identified elevated levels of tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) in aging, both circulating and locally in skeletal muscle. The purpose of the present study was to determine if age-related differences exist between TNF-α-induced nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-κB) activation and expression of apoptotic gene targets. MPCs isolated from 32-month-old animals exhibited an increased NF-κB activation in response to 1, 5, and 20 ng mL−1 TNF-α, compared to MPCs isolated from 3-month-old animals. No age differences were observed in the rapid canonical signaling events leading to NF-κB activation or in the increase in mRNA levels for TNF receptor 1, TNF receptor 2, TNF receptor-associated factor 2 (TRAF2), or Fas (CD95) observed after 2 h of TNF-α stimulation. Interestingly, mRNA levels for TRAF2 and the cell death-inducing receptor, Fas (CD95), were persistently upregulated in response to 24 h TNF-α treatment in MPCs isolated from 32-month-old animals, compared to 3-month-old animals. Our data indicate that age-related differences may exist in the regulatory mechanisms responsible for NF-κB inactivation, which may have an effect on TNF-α-induced apoptotic signaling. These findings improve our understanding of the interaction between aged MPCs and the changing environment associated with age, which is critical for the development of potential clinical interventions aimed at improving MPC function with age.