New treatment hope for those affected by muscle loss

old man
Credit: CC0 Public Domain

New research from the University of Aberdeen has identified the genes responsible for muscle mass

These findings may identify those most at risk from as they get older and identifying these genes may unlock the potential for targeted drug therapies that could prevent further muscle loss.

Published in the American Journal of Human Genetics, this is the most comprehensive account to date of the regions on the genome associated with muscle mass.

It is estimated that there are around nine hundred thousand people affected by age-related muscle loss in the UK alone. With that loss comes an increase in the risk of falls, fractures, loss of independence and in some cases, death. Currently there is no effective drug treatment to prevent or reverse this type of muscle loss.

Dr. Arimantas Lionikas who led the project explains: "A decline in muscle mass and strength is a universal companion of ageing, and is a main cause of falls and fractures in the elderly.

"Ageing-related muscle decline takes place on a backdrop of its condition in youth. Muscle mass can differ extensively between , however the genes that affect those differences have until now not been known. Our findings address that—and have identified some of these genes.

"This research has revealed that very many genes contribute to the differences in and that their effects can be seen in middle age and in elderly individuals.

"The next steps in our research will be to investigate whether some of these genes are suitable targets for drug development to reverse loss."

Explore further

Tips for maintaining muscle as you age

Citation: New treatment hope for those affected by muscle loss (2020, January 13) retrieved 16 January 2021 from
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.

Feedback to editors

User comments