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Approximately 50% of humans older than 85 years have physical frailty due to weak skeletal muscles. This indicates a need for determining mechanisms to combat this problem. A critical cellular factor for postnatal muscle growth is a population of myogenic precursor cells called satellite cells. Given the complex process of sarcopenia, it has been postulated that, at some point in this process, a limited satellite cell proliferation potential could become rate-limiting to the regrowth of old muscles. It is conceivable that if satellite cell proliferative capacity can be maintained or enhanced with advanced age, sarcopenia could potentially be delayed or prevented. Therefore, the purposes of this paper are to describe whether IGF-I can prevent muscular atrophy induced by repeated cycles of hindlimb immobilization, increase the in vitro proliferation in satellite cells from these muscles and, if so, the molecular mechanisms by which IGF-1 mediates this increased proliferation. Our results provide evidence that IGFI can enhance aged muscle regrowth possibly through increased satellite cell proliferation. The results also suggest that IGF-I enhances satellite cell proliferation by decreasing the cell cycle inhibitor, p27Kip1, through the PI3’-K/Akt pathway. These data provide molecular evidence for IGF-I’s rescue effect upon aging-associated skeletal muscle atrophy.
M.V. Chakravarthy is with the Department of Integrative Biology at the University of Texas Medical School, Houston, TX 77030. E.E. Spangenburg and F.W. Booth are with the Department of Biomedical Sciences in the College of Veterinary Sciences at the University of Missouri, Columbia, MO 65211.