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Wiley Interdiscip Rev Syst Biol Med. 2019 Aug 13:e1462. doi: 10.1002/wsbm.1462. [Epub ahead of print]

Skeletal muscle: A review of molecular structure and function, in health and disease.

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Department of Bioengineering, University of California, San Diego, California.
Department of Bioengineering, Bioinformatics & Systems Biology, University of California, San Diego, California.
Department of Computer Science and Engineering, University of California, San Diego, California.
Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine and Nanoengineering, University of California, San Diego, California.


Decades of research in skeletal muscle physiology have provided multiscale insights into the structural and functional complexity of this important anatomical tissue, designed to accomplish the task of generating contraction, force and movement. Skeletal muscle can be viewed as a biomechanical device with various interacting components including the autonomic nerves for impulse transmission, vasculature for efficient oxygenation, and embedded regulatory and metabolic machinery for maintaining cellular homeostasis. The "omics" revolution has propelled a new era in muscle research, allowing us to discern minute details of molecular cross-talk required for effective coordination between the myriad interacting components for efficient muscle function. The objective of this review is to provide a systems-level, comprehensive mapping the molecular mechanisms underlying skeletal muscle structure and function, in health and disease. We begin this review with a focus on molecular mechanisms underlying muscle tissue development (myogenesis), with an emphasis on satellite cells and muscle regeneration. We next review the molecular structure and mechanisms underlying the many structural components of the muscle: neuromuscular junction, sarcomere, cytoskeleton, extracellular matrix, and vasculature surrounding muscle. We highlight aberrant molecular mechanisms and their possible clinical or pathophysiological relevance. We particularly emphasize the impact of environmental stressors (inflammation and oxidative stress) in contributing to muscle pathophysiology including atrophy, hypertrophy, and fibrosis. This article is categorized under: Physiology > Mammalian Physiology in Health and Disease Developmental Biology > Developmental Processes in Health and Disease Models of Systems Properties and Processes > Cellular Models.


molecular mechanisms; molecular structure; muscle health and disease; muscle physiology; skeletal muscle


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