Stem cell study may result in stronger muscles in old age

February 26, 2018, Karolinska Institutet
Irene Franco, Postdoc, and Maria Eriksson, Professor, Karolinska Institutet. Photo: Ulf Sirborn.CREDITUlf Sirborn

Muscular function declines with age. A new study by researchers at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden shows how an unexpectedly high number of mutations in the stem cells of muscles impair cell regeneration. This discovery may result in new medication to build stronger muscles throughout aging. The study is published in Nature Communications.

It has already been established that natural aging impairs the function of skeletal muscles. We also know that the number and the activity of the muscles' decline with age. However, the reasons are not fully understood. In a new study, researchers at Karolinska Institutet have investigated the number of that accumulate in the muscle's stem cells ().

"What is most surprising is the high number of mutations. We have seen how a healthy 70-year-old has accumulated more than 1,000 mutations in each stem cell in the muscle, and that these mutations are not random, but there are certain regions that are better protected," says Maria Eriksson, professor in the Department of Biosciences and Nutrition at Karolinska Institutet.

The mutations occur during natural cell division, and the regions that are protected are those that are important for the function or survival of the cells. Nonetheless, the researchers were able to identify that this protection declines with age.

"We can demonstrate that this protection diminishes the older you become, indicating an impairment in the cell's capacity to repair their DNA. And this is something we should be able to influence with new drugs," explains Maria Eriksson.

The researchers have benefited from new methods to complete the study. The study was performed using single stem cells cultivated to provide sufficient DNA for whole genome sequencing. "We achieved this in the , which is absolutely unique. We have also found that there is very little overlap of mutations, despite the cells being located close to each other, representing an extremely complex mutational burden," explains the study's first author, Irene Franco, Postdoc in Maria Eriksson's research group.

The researchers will now continue their work to investigate whether can affect the number of accumulated mutations. Is it true that physical exercise from a young age clears out cells with many mutations, or does it result in the generation of a higher number of such ?

"We aim to discover whether it is possible to individually influence the burden of mutations. Our results may be beneficial for the development of exercise programmes, particularly those designed for an aging population," says Maria Eriksson.

Explore further: Endurance training helpful in recovery from muscle inflammation, new study shows

More information: Irene Franco et al, Somatic mutagenesis in satellite cells associates with human skeletal muscle aging, Nature Communications (2018). DOI: 10.1038/s41467-018-03244-6

Related Stories

Endurance training helpful in recovery from muscle inflammation, new study shows

November 8, 2017
Endurance training can actually be helpful in dealing with muscle inflammation, according to a new paper co-written by faculty at Binghamton University, State University of New York, and Karolinska Institutet and Karolinska ...

CRISPR used to treat Duchenne muscular dystrophy cells in the lab

February 1, 2018
A team of researchers from the U.S. and Germany describes a novel CRISPR approach to produce healthy heart muscle using pluripotent stem cells from Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) patients. In their paper published on the ...

Researchers track muscle stem cell dynamics in response to injury and aging

December 14, 2017
A new study led by researchers at Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute (SBP) describes the biology behind why muscle stem cells respond differently to aging or injury. The findings, published in Cell Stem Cell, ...

How blood can be rejuvenated

February 23, 2017
Our blood stem cells generate around a thousand billion new blood cells every day. But the blood stem cells' capacity to produce blood changes as we age. This leads to older people being more susceptible to anaemia, lowered ...

New findings explain how UV rays trigger skin cancer

October 18, 2017
Melanoma, a cancer of skin pigment cells called melanocytes, will strike an estimated 87,110 people in the U.S. in 2017, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A fraction of those melanomas come from ...

Recommended for you

Japanese team creates human oogonia using human stem cells in artificial mouse ovaries

September 21, 2018
A team of researchers with members from several institutions in Japan has successfully generated human oogonia inside of artificial mouse ovaries using human stem cells. In their paper published in the journal Science, the ...

A Trojan Horse delivery for treating a rare, potentially deadly, blood-clotting disorder

September 21, 2018
In proof-of-concept experiments, University of Alabama at Birmingham researchers have highlighted a potential therapy for a rare but potentially deadly blood-clotting disorder, TTP. The researchers deliver this therapeutic ...

Researchers explore how changes in diet alter microbiome in artificial intestine

September 21, 2018
Using an artificial intestine they created, researchers have shown that the microbiome can quickly adapt from the bacterial equivalent of a typical western diet to one composed exclusively of dietary fats. That adaptation ...

A new approach to developing a vaccine against vivax malaria

September 21, 2018
A novel study reports an innovative approach for developing a vaccine against Plasmodium vivax, the most prevalent human malaria parasite outside sub-Saharan Africa. The study led by Hernando A. del Portillo and Carmen Fernandez-Becerra, ...

Study identifies stem cell that gives rise to new bone and cartilage in humans

September 20, 2018
A decade-long effort led by Stanford University School of Medicine scientists has been rewarded with the identification of the human skeletal stem cell.

Scientists grow human esophagus in lab

September 20, 2018
Scientists working to bioengineer the entire human gastrointestinal system in a laboratory now report using pluripotent stem cells to grow human esophageal organoids.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.