Lifelong exercise and locally produced insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) have a modest influence on reducing age-related muscle wasting in mice
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The age-related loss of skeletal muscle mass and function is termed sarcopenia and has been attributed to a decline in concentrations of insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1). We hypothesized that constitutively expressed IGF-1 within skeletal muscles with or without exercise would prevent sarcopenia. Male transgenic mice that overexpress IGF-1 Ea in skeletal muscles were compared with wild-type littermates. Four-month-old mice were assigned to be sedentary, or had access to free-running wheels, until 18 or 28 months of age. In wild-type mice, the mass of the quadriceps muscles was reduced at 28 months and exercise prevented such loss, without affecting the diameter of myofibers. Conversely, increased IGF-1 alone was ineffective, whereas the combination of exercise and IGF-1 was additive in maintaining the diameter of myofibers in the quadriceps muscles. For other muscles, the combination of IGF-1 and exercise was variable and either increased or decreased the mass at 18 months of age, but was ineffective thereafter. Despite an increase in the diameter of myofibers, grip strength was not improved. In conclusion, our data show that exercise and IGF-1 have a modest effect on reducing aged-related wasting of skeletal muscle, but that there is no improvement in muscle function when assessed by grip strength.
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