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Journal of Aging Research
Volume 2012, Article ID 158279, 11 pages
Review Article

Age-Related Loss of Muscle Mass and Strength

Departments of Surgery, Anatomy and Developmental Biology, University College Medical School, Royal Free Hospital Campus, Hampstead, London NW3 2PF, UK

Received 4 July 2011; Accepted 7 November 2011

Academic Editor: John Knight

Copyright © 2012 Geoffrey Goldspink. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Age-related muscle wasting and increased frailty are major socioeconomic as well as medical problems. In the quest to extend quality of life it is important to increase the strength of elderly people sufficiently so they can carry out everyday tasks and to prevent them falling and breaking bones that are brittle due to osteoporosis. Muscles generate the mechanical strain that contributes to the maintenance of other musculoskeletal tissues, and a vicious circle is established as muscle loss results in bone loss and weakening of tendons. Molecular and proteomic approaches now provide strategies for preventing age-related muscle wasting. Here, attention is paid to the role of the GH/IGF-1 axis and the special role of the IGFI-Ec (mechano growth factor/MGF) which is derived from the IGF-I gene by alternative splicing. During aging MGF levels decline but when administered MGF activates the muscle satellite (stem) cells that “kick start” local muscle repair and induces hypertrophy.