Login to MyKarger

New to MyKarger? Click here to sign up.

Login with Facebook

Forgot Password? Reset your password

Authors, Editors, Reviewers

For Manuscript Submission, Check or Review Login please go to Submission Websites List.

Submission Websites List

Institutional Login (Shibboleth)

For the academic login, please select your country in the dropdown list. You will be redirected to verify your credentials.

Table of Contents
Vol. 58, No. 2, 2012
Issue release date: February 2012
Section title: Clinical Section / Mini-Review
Free Access
Gerontology 2012;58:99–106

Apoptosis in Skeletal Myocytes: A Potential Target for Interventions against Sarcopenia and Physical Frailty – A Mini-Review

Marzetti E.a · Calvani R.b · Bernabei R.b · Leeuwenburgh C.c
Departments of aOrthopaedics and Traumatology, and bGerontology, Geriatrics and Physiatrics, University Hospital Agostino Gemelli, Catholic University of the Sacred Heart, Rome, Italy; cDepartment of Aging and Geriatric Research, Institute on Aging, University of Florida, Gainesville, Fla., USA
email Corresponding Author

Emanuele Marzetti, MD, PhD

Department of Orthopaedics and Traumatology, University Hospital Agostino Gemelli

Catholic University of the Sacred Heart, Largo A. Gemelli 1

IT–00168 Rome (Italy)

Tel. +39 06 3015 5669, E-Mail emarzetti@live.com

Do you have an account?

Login Information

Contact Information

I have read the Karger Terms and Conditions and agree.


Background: Sarcopenia, the age-related loss of muscle mass and function, represents a relevant public health issue due to its high prevalence and detrimental consequences. While the exact mechanisms underlying the pathogenesis of sarcopenia are not clear, growing experimental evidence indicates that progressive myonuclear elimination over the course of aging via an apoptosis-like process may represent a converging mechanism through which muscle atrophy and loss of physical function develop. Notably, the proapoptotic environment taking place in aged muscle appears amenable to interventions. Objective: We aimed at providing (1) an overview of signaling pathways of apoptosis relevant to sarcopenia, and (2) a review of the literature supporting myocyte apoptosis as a target for interventions against muscle aging. Methods: We summarized findings from studies focused on skeletal myocyte apoptosis as a mechanism in the development of sarcopenia and reports supporting myonuclear apoptosis as a target for interventions against age-related muscle loss. Results: Advanced age is associated with increased signaling through extrinsic and intrinsic apoptotic pathways in skeletal myocytes. In contrast, downregulation of myocyte apoptosis through calorie restriction, exercise training, hormonal supplementation, drugs (e.g. angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, acetaminophen, antimyostatin antibodies), nutraceuticals or genetic interventions (e.g. PGC-1α overexpression) is linked with preservation of muscle integrity and improved physical performance in late life. Preliminary data also indicate that skeletal myocyte apoptotic signaling may be downregulated by compounds, such as resveratrol, with calorie restriction-mimicking properties. Whether exercise mimetics exert a similar effect has not yet been investigated. Conclusions: Available evidence suggests that targeting myonuclear apoptosis might provide novel and effective therapeutic tools to combat sarcopenia. Further research is required to definitely establish if downregulating myonuclear apoptosis is effective in maintaining muscle mass and function in late life, identify the most relevant apoptotic pathway(s) to target, and determine the optimal timing for intervening.

© 2011 S. Karger AG, Basel

Article / Publication Details

First-Page Preview
Abstract of Clinical Section / Mini-Review

Received: April 07, 2011
Accepted: June 09, 2011
Published online: September 23, 2011
Issue release date: February 2012

Number of Print Pages: 8
Number of Figures: 1
Number of Tables: 1

ISSN: 0304-324X (Print)
eISSN: 1423-0003 (Online)

For additional information: http://www.karger.com/GER

Copyright / Drug Dosage / Disclaimer

Copyright: All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be translated into other languages, reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, microcopying, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher or, in the case of photocopying, direct payment of a specified fee to the Copyright Clearance Center.
Drug Dosage: The authors and the publisher have exerted every effort to ensure that drug selection and dosage set forth in this text are in accord with current recommendations and practice at the time of publication. However, in view of ongoing research, changes in government regulations, and the constant flow of information relating to drug therapy and drug reactions, the reader is urged to check the package insert for each drug for any changes in indications and dosage and for added warnings and precautions. This is particularly important when the recommended agent is a new and/or infrequently employed drug.
Disclaimer: The statements, opinions and data contained in this publication are solely those of the individual authors and contributors and not of the publishers and the editor(s). The appearance of advertisements or/and product references in the publication is not a warranty, endorsement, or approval of the products or services advertised or of their effectiveness, quality or safety. The publisher and the editor(s) disclaim responsibility for any injury to persons or property resulting from any ideas, methods, instructions or products referred to in the content or advertisements.