With life expectancy increasing, age-related diseases are also on the rise, including sarcopenia, the loss of muscle mass due to aging.
In a new study, researchers found that a well-known drug can delay the progression of age-related muscle weakness.
They discovered that mTORC1 contributes to sarcopenia and its suppression with the well-known drug rapamycin slows age-related muscle wasting.
MTORC1 is a protein complex that functions as a nutrient/energy sensor and controls protein synthesis.
Drug rapamycin can prevent organ transplant rejection and treat rare lung disease. It is especially useful in preventing the rejection of kidney transplants.
The research was conducted by a team from the University of Basel.
Even during peak years, human muscles begin to shrink and become less strong. Unfortunately, this is a natural part of aging. For some people, the decline in muscle mass 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 supplying muscles.
In the study, the team the long-term mTORC1 suppression with rapamycin is very beneficial for skeletal muscle aging in mice, preserving muscle size and strength.
There is currently no effective therapy to treat sarcopenia.
This study suggests the possibility of slowing down age-related muscle wasting with treatments that suppress mTORC1 and thereby extend the autonomy and life quality of elderly people.
One author of the study is Professor Markus Rüegg.
The study is published in Nature Communications.
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