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Exp Gerontol. 2007 Apr;42(4):309-19. Epub 2006 Dec 14.

Motor neuron targeting of IGF-1 attenuates age-related external Ca2+-dependent skeletal muscle contraction in senescent mice.

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Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC 27157, USA.


A population of fast muscle fibers from aging mice is dependent on external Ca(2+) to maintain tetanic force during repeated contractions. We hypothesized that age-related denervation in muscle fibers plays a role in initiating this contractile deficit, and that prevention of denervation by IGF-1 overexpression would prevent external Ca(2+)-dependent contraction in aging mice. IGF-1 overexpression in skeletal muscle prevents age-related denervation, and prevented external Ca(2+)-dependent contraction in this work. To determine if the effects of IGF-1 overexpression are on muscle or nerve, aging mice were injected with a tetanus toxin fragment-C (TTC) fusion protein that targets IGF-1 to spinal cord motor neurons. This treatment prevented external Ca(2+)-dependent contraction. We also show evidence that injections of the IGF-1-TTC fusion protein prevent age-related alterations to the nerve terminals at the neuromuscular junctions. We conclude that the slow age-related denervation of fast muscle fibers underlies dependence on external Ca(2+) to maintain tetanic force in a population of muscle fibers from senescent mice.

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