Heightened muscle inflammation susceptibility may impair regenerative capacity in aging humans

Academic Article


  • The regenerative response of skeletal muscle to mechanically induced damage is impaired with age. Previous work in our laboratory suggests this may result from higher proinflammatory signaling in aging muscle at rest and/or a greater inflammatory response to damage. We, therefore, assessed skeletal muscle proinflammatory signaling at rest and 24 h after unaccustomed, loaded knee extension contractions that induced modest muscle damage (72% increase in serum creatine kinase) in a cohort of 87 adults across three age groups (AGE40, AGE61, and AGE76). Vastus lateralis muscle gene expression and protein cell signaling of the IL-6 and TNF-pathways were determined by quantitative PCR and immunoblot analysis. For in vitro studies, cell signaling and fusion capacities were compared among primary myoblasts from young (AGE28) and old (AGE64) donors treated with TNF-. Muscle expression was higher (1.5-to 2.1-fold) in AGE76 and AGE61 relative to AGE40 for several genes involved in IL-6, TNF-, and TNF-like weak inducer of apoptosis signaling. Indexes of activation for the proinflammatory transcription factors signal transducer and activator of transcription-3 and NF-B were highest in AGE76. Resistance loading reduced gene expression of IL-6 receptor, muscle RING finger 1, and atrogin-1, and increased TNF-like weak inducer of apoptosis receptor expression. Donor myoblasts from AGE64 showed impaired differentiation and fusion in standard media and greater NF-B activation in response to TNF-treatment (compared with AGE28). We show for the first time that human aging is associated with muscle inflammation susceptibility (i.e., higher basal state of proinflammatory signaling) that is present in both tissue and isolated myogenic cells and likely contributes to the impaired regenerative capacity of skeletal muscle in the older population. © 2013 the American Physiological Society.
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    Author List

  • Merritt EK; Stec MJ; Thalacker-Mercer A; Windham ST; Cross JM; Shelley DP; Tuggle SC; Kosek DJ; Kim JS; Bamman MM
  • Start Page

  • 937
  • End Page

  • 948
  • Volume

  • 115
  • Issue

  • 6