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Neurobiol Dis. 2006 Feb;21(2):372-80. Epub 2005 Sep 8.

Fiber type-related changes in rat skeletal muscle calcium homeostasis during aging and restoration by growth hormone.

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  • 1Division of Pharmacology, Department of Pharmaco-Biology, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Bari, Bari I-70125, Italy.


The mechanisms by which aging induces muscle impairment are not well understood yet. We studied the impact of aging on Ca2+ homeostasis in the slow-twitch soleus and the fast-twitch extensor digitorum longus (EDL) muscles of aged rats by using the fura-2 fluorescent probe. In both muscles aging increases the resting cytosolic calcium concentration ([Ca2+]i). This effect was independent on calcium influx since a reduced resting permeability of sarcolemma to divalent cations was observed in aged muscles likely due to a reduced activity of leak channels. Importantly the effects of aging on resting [Ca2+]i, fiber diameter, mechanical threshold and sarcolemmal resting conductances were less pronounced in the soleus muscle, suggesting that muscle impairment may be less dependent on [Ca2+]i in the slow-twitch muscle. The treatment of aged rats with growth hormone restored the resting [Ca2+]i toward adult values in both muscles. Thus, an increase of resting [Ca2+]i may contribute to muscle weakness associated with aging and may be considered for developing new therapeutic strategies in the elderly.

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