Attacking Sarcopenia

(From the New Scientist). In addition to the possibility of a dietary therapy, scientists are looking at a genetic way around sarcopenia, or age-related muscle loss: "Throughout life the cells inside muscles undergo a constant build-up and break-down cycle. But in old age, muscle regeneration slows, leading to a loss of strength. A similar weakening occurs when muscles are not used. One way to stop this degeneration may be to modify the activity of key proteins inside muscle cells ... [the protein NF-Kappa-B] has a known role in inflammation ... Blocking the action of NF-Kappa-B in human muscle cells could help protect against muscle atrophy and promote tissue healing in people ... It would be unwise to try blocking NF-Kappa-B in humans with a simple pill [because] the protein has an important function in stimulating the immune system to fight off infection. Instead, researchers believe that a gene therapy approach might work to specifically block the protein in muscle cells alone."



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