Rapamycin can suppress muscle aging and prevent sarcopenia

Muscle size decreases at high age and is preserved by rapamycin treatment (left to right: adult, older, and rapamycin treated old mice). Sincerely: University of Basel, Biozantrum

As life expectancy increases, age-related diseases are also increasing, including sarcopenia, muscle loss due to aging. Researchers at the University of Basel’s Biozantrum have demonstrated that a well-known drug can delay the progression of age-related muscle weakness.

Even during peak years, human muscles begin to shrink and become less strong. Unfortunately, it is a natural part of aging. For some people, a decline in muscle and function is excessive. This condition, called sarcopenia, affects every second or third person over 80, reducing mobility, autonomy, and quality of life.

The causes of sarcopenia are diverse, ranging from altered muscle metabolism to changes in the nerves that supply the muscles. Researchers led by Professor Marcus Ruegg have now discovered that mTORC1 also contributes to sarcopenia and its suppression with the well-known drug rapamycin causes age-related muscle wasting.

Rapamycin preserves muscle function

The study’s first author, Daniel Hamm, says “contrary to our expectations, long-term mTORC1 suppression with rapamycin is significantly beneficial for skeletal muscle aging in mice.” “Neuromuscular junctions, sites where neurons approach muscle fibers to control their contractions, deteriorate during aging. Stable neuromuscular junctions are paramount to maintaining healthy muscles during aging and rapamycin effectively Stabilizes them. ” Researchers also demonstrate that permanently activated mTORC1 in skeletal muscle accelerates muscle aging.

Molecular signature of sarcopenia

In collaboration with the team of Professor Mihaela Zavolan, the scientists identified the molecular signature of sarcopenia, with mTORC1 as the key player. To help the scientific community investigate how gene expression occurs in skeletal muscle during aging or in response to rapamycin treatment, they developed the user-friendly web application, Sarcoatlas, a scientist at the University of Basel The computing center is supported by SciCORE. .

There is currently no effective pharmacological therapy for the treatment of sarcopenia. This study suggests the possibility of slowing age-related muscle with therapies that suppress mTORC1 and thereby extend autonomy and quality of life of elderly people.

The study is published in Nature communication.

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more information:
Nature communication, DOI: 10.1038 / s41467-020-18140-1

Provided by the University of Basel

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