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Curr Opin Rheumatol. 2006 Nov;18(6):625-30.

Inflammatory factors in age-related muscle wasting.

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Department of Kinesiology, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland, USA.



This review focuses on recent evidence pointing to the importance of inflammatory factors in the onset and progression of age-related muscle wasting, also known as sarcopenia, and discusses critical areas of uncertainty within the literature that require further development in order to identify novel therapeutics.


The research performed in recent years has only strengthened the evidence that inflammatory factors are important in the progression of a catabolic state in muscle wasting. Interactions among various inflammatory cytokines and anabolic factors have been observed, with the balance skewed in favor of catabolism in sarcopenia. Adiposity appears to play an important role in the inflammatory process and possibly the onset of sarcopenia. Inflammatory factors are likely to play an important role in the increased activity of the ubiquitin proteasome, which we argue should be a primary target for the development of molecular therapeutics.


Future research will need to delve into the molecular interactions that link inflammatory factors and the imbalance between muscle anabolism and catabolism that develops with aging. Identification of specific pathways of importance to sarcopenia will have relevance to a wide range of wasting disorders.

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